Deadline for doctor shortage

In a race against time, doctors and Health Ministry officials decided yesterday to form a committee to come up with a proposal within 15 days to avert a shortage of doctors at state hospitals from January. The lack of doctors is expected due to a European Union directive which will not allow them to work more than 58 hours a week and is to be implemented from January 1. State hospital doctors currently work up to 80 hours a week. A presidential decree was passed last year adopting the directive but authorities seem to have left it to the last minute to act. The Association of Hospital Doctors of Athens and Piraeus (EINAP) has protested over the last few weeks about the lack of action and argued that 5,000 doctors would have to be hired to cover the shortfall. During yesterday’s meeting at the Health Ministry, it was agreed that a committee comprising ministry officials and representatives of doctors’ unions would try over the next two weeks to find a solution based on current resources.

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