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Lykourgos Liaropoulos, president of the board of the Athens Regional Health System, is aiming to make better use of hospitals working below capacity and to take the pressure off busier ones. Liaropoulos told Kathimerini that the Drakopouleio Hospital in Vathis Square, a six-floor, 2,300-square-meter building, is being used solely as a blood bank. The last time he visited Athens’s prefectural hospital of Aghia Eleni, in Ambelokipi, there were only four patients, yet at other hospitals, patients are accommodated on stretchers. Consideration is being given to moving the Athens Ophthalmic Hospital to another site and to converting the Polyclinic near Omonia Square into an urban health center. Another priority is making better use of the Elpis Hospital after repairing damage caused in the 1999 earthquake. «At this stage we are recording the overall situation at the hospitals,» said Liaropoulos. «Next, we will decide how to make better use of space in order to take the pressure off Attica’s larger hospitals.» Specialized working groups are working on separate issues such as building infrastructure, existing computer technology and rational use of human resources. One of these groups, while recording and evaluating the biomedical equipment of the 16 hospitals in the region, recently spotted four unused beds in the intensive care ward at the Polyclinic. The beds were transferred to the Laiko hospital. «Good work can also be done within hospitals, particularly with regard to duty shifts and stretchers. For example, the governor of the Red Cross Korgialenio-Benakeio hospital was in the hospital on a day it was on duty and saw eight patients lying on stretchers waiting for emergency cases even though nine beds were vacant.

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