Athens hospital scheme to be tested next month

A three-month pilot scheme aimed at reducing overcrowding in the capital’s state hospitals by restructuring duty rotas is to be implemented from next month, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis told Kathimerini in an interview. Most national health service staff agree with the thinking behind the scheme, which is «a proposal, not a decision,» Kaklamanis said. But he did not clarify whether there had been any shift in the stance of hospital doctors, who expressed skepticism about the viability of the plan when it was made public last week. «When we have the first conclusions, we might have to make some small changes. Immediately afterward, there will be systematic implementation with the realistic hope that beds in hospital corridors will be a thing of the past by spring 2005,» Kaklamanis said. The scheme will require extra state funding and staff, he added, noting that 20,000 nursing personnel need to be recruited over the next four years.