Pledge to end crisis over hospital supplies

The Health Ministry pledged yesterday to intervene in the dispute between suppliers and KAT Hospital in northern Athens over unpaid bills so that the hospital does not suffer a shortage of orthopedic materials. Doctors at KAT had been in danger of not being able to treat patients properly as several companies had threatened to stop supplying the hospital unless they were paid some of their outstanding bills. The hospital owes its suppliers more than 65 million euros. The suppliers decided not to stop providing the hospital with goods after the ministry promised it would sort out the problem. State hospitals are notoriously slow at paying suppliers, which, in turn, leads to firms upping the cost of goods so that they can make up for the money they lose due to delayed payments.