Island health services need a staff injection

Overstretched medical services on Greek islands, which must deal with more cases during the busy summer tourist season, are suffering staff shortages of up to 65 percent, according to figures made public yesterday by regional officials. A study by health authorities in the Southern Aegean prefecture found that, on average, hospitals and clinics in the region are operating with just over half the required medical and support staff – 448 employees are filling 796 positions. On some islands, the shortage is worse. Only 35 percent of the positions are filled at a health center on Ios. Regional officials told Kathimerini that the prefecture had advertised 60 vacancies for doctors last September and hoped to hire suitable candidates by the end of this year. The process to hire 120 support staff is also under way. Officials said they planned to fill four-fifths of the total available positions, despite the difficulty in attracting personnel to islands because of their remoteness, particularly in winter.

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