Hospital waiting lists to be thing of the past

In his first interview to the daily press, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis talked to Kathimerini about three major problems in the country’s health system it inherited from the previous PASOK government – the staffing of hospitals, the funding and economic management of the National Health System (ESY), and the way hospitals are managed. The government’s strategy, said the minister, is based on tackling these problems «so we can capitalize on the great value of the ESY to the benefit of the people.» Kaklamanis referred to the ministry’s expectations of the implementation of a pilot program involving a new organizational framework at the Olympic Village clinic, and the potential for extending it to other units outside hospitals. «It is not the ministry’s intention to alter the public character of the ESY,» he emphasized. As for primary healthcare units, Kaklamanis said those belonging to social security funds would be unified in a functional, integrated system under the aegis of the ESY. Meanwhile, he said he hoped that by next spring the familiar sight of patients lying on beds in hospital corridors would be a thing of the past, and that waiting lists would be shortened after a new duty roster system was introduced and hospitals opened all day. The new institution of the Health Ombudsman, finally, would be a weapon in the hands of both patients and ministers who were «determined to take the institutions seriously.»