Primary care is the best solution

«The main reason for the proliferation of camp beds,» according to the deputy minister, «is the complete lack of a system of primary care and preventive medicine, particularly in Attica.» The main way to solve this problem is to create a legislative framework for primary health care. Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis told Parliament recently that a bill will be tabled soon. The Health Ministry is also about to take specific measures. A special working group has been set up led by a former general secretary of the ministry, Ioannis Pieroutsakis, with the participation of Costas Karaliotas, who is head of the Red Cross surgical clinic, Giorgos Patoulis, board member of the Athens Medical Association Christos Tsigris, an associate professor of surgery, Costas Constantopoulos, a hematologist and assistant professor, neurosurgeon Vasileios Varsos, and Sotiris Dritsas, vice president of the Greek Red Cross. According to Yiannopoulos, some of the actions being planned are aimed at substantially changing the way hospital duty shifts are arranged, achieving a more effective use of smaller hospitals that cover specific needs, and the operation of the ambulance system. Stricter and more systematic checks on patients’ length of hospitalization are also needed. Empty beds should be utilized by moving patients around to other clinics within the same hospital. Particular emphasis is to be placed on informing the public about the capacity of Attica’s hospitals, making it clear that all provide the same top-quality care and that patients and their relatives should have confidence in their medical staff.

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