Gov’t, doctors in crucial talks

Health Ministry officials sit down today for crucial talks with state hospital doctors, who are threatening to stage a mass walkout unless authorities approve a collective labor agreement providing for more benefits and additional recruitment. Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos was yesterday upbeat about the outcome of talks, saying that it would take «just a few days» to agree on a collective work contract. He also said the government was planning a recruitment drive for hospitals but did not give any figures. Doctors, who warn of «dramatic» staff shortages at state hospitals, have said they will start walking off the job next Monday unless their demands are met. If they go ahead, the country’s state hospitals will be running on emergency staff. The only patients who will be admitted will be those «whose physical well-being or lives are at immediate risk.»