NEWS

Hospital visitors cards to come in exchange for IDs

Visitors to designated Olympic hospitals during the Olympic Games will need a special admission card. Special regulations are to govern the running of those hospitals during the Games, and the National First Aid Center (EKAB) will field more ambulances to deal with urgent cases. Fifteen first-aid stations will go into operation just before the Games commence. As the Health Ministry’s special secretary and president of the coordinating body of the health sector (SOTY), Meletis Tzaferis, told Kathimerini, people visiting patients in hospital during the Games will have to show their identity cards at the entrance. Staff will check IDs, retain them in exchange for an entrance card, and return them after the visit. There will also be an effort to adhere to visiting hours. The measures are intended to enhance hospital security. Emergency wards will operate around the clock at Evangelismos, KAT, Athens General State Hospital, Nikaia State hospital, the Askleipeio Voula, Tzaneio, Sismanogleio and the Red Cross in Athens and the Papageorgiou and Ippokrateio hospitals in Thessaloniki. Delivery hours at hospitals will change, with accredited vehicles making deliveries from midnight to 7 a.m. «As far as patients are concerned,» said Tzaferis, nothing will change during the Olympic Games. National Health System (ESY) staff will bear the brunt of meeting increased demand.» EKAB will play a significant role in meeting the demand for health and medical care during the Games. EKAB’s vice president Vassilis Kerkeris told Kathimerini that 120 accredited ambulances will be in the vicinity of the Olympic venues; there will be 110 ambulances on morning shift in Attica, 110 on the afternoon shift and 60 on the night shift. Some of EKAB’s 25 mobile units will be inside the Olympic venues, while others will park at central locations such as Zappeion and the Parliament. For aerial transfers the air force has provided two Super Puma helicopters that have been specially equipped to transport patients, and EKAB management is talking to private aircraft owners about renting an airplane. Nearby Olympic venues, at points where crowds of visitors are expected to gather, 15 prefabricated first-aid stations will operate from 8 a.m. to midnight. The 75-square-meter stations have an examining room, a doctors’ office, a waiting room for patients and a storeroom. They will be staffed by a doctor and two nurses seconded from non-Olympic hospitals and by Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors. After the Games, these first-aid posts (and another four to be delivered after the Games) will be given to municipalities that will undertake to operate them «There has been a major effort and there will be sufficient healthcare provision at the Olympic Games,» said Tzeferis. «I think we are at a good stage, taking into consideration the will power, the passion and termination of those who work in the National Heath System. And I’ll tell you what I tell my family: I feel safe.»