A smile and a kind word is not too much for patients to ask of hospital staff, even in Central Macedonia, where it is generally agreed that there is room for improvement in staff behavior. The new hospital management system is about to take a stab at the problem by setting up a special service for admitting patients to hospital and ensuring they are properly treated during their stay. A smile, however, will not be enough to resolve the problems in Central Macedonia’s First and Second Regional Health Systems. What is needed is nursing and paramedical staff, services to cover all cases, the proper distribution of beds so that no patients are left on stretchers, more pharmaceutical and surgical supplies and better equipment. Nikos Papakyriazis, president of the First Regional Health Service in Central Macedonia, said specialized nursing staff were in short supply at hospitals in eastern Thessaloniki and at hospitals and clinics in the prefectures of Halkidiki, Serres and Kilkis. «Our priority is to fill 600 posts at Central Macedonian hospitals,» Papakyriazis told Kathimerini. Other requirements include medicines and supplies for surgical, orthopedic and cardiological units, drugs for chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and generally improved equipment. Outpatients’ departments also need to be more organized to allow for better access. Generally, making changes to duty shifts is a gigantic undertaking that is hoped will gradually do away with the all too familiar scenes of crowding and queuing at hospitals on outpatient duty. Setting up autonomous emergency rooms in every hospital is a step in this direction. Papakyriazis said that patients would no longer be accommodated on stretchers if beds were made available in other clinics that were not full. The second regional authority’s president, Costas Kallergis, said that in most of the region’s hospitals, operations were being reorganized and infrastructure modernized, a process that requires human resource management, the proper distribution of beds in some duty hospitals and the allocation of specialized units to every region to cover all emergency cases, including an intensive care unit in Yiannitsa and a cardiac unit in Edessa for emergency cases in the prefecture of Pella.