Hospitals short of vital supplies

The economic crisis is beginning to have a serious impact on state hospitals, some of which do not have the capacity to carry out basic tests, which others are seeing suppliers return to reclaim their equipment due to outstanding debts. The revelations a few days ago that the Evangelismos Hospital in central Athens was in no position to carry out heart operations due to a lack of vital supplies appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Shortages of orthopedic equipment and filters for life-support machines were also reported. But other hospitals are also declaring a scarcity of supplies. The Sismanogleio Hospital in northern Athens said that it does not have test tubes to carry out blood tests and it has run out of film for its X-ray machines. At the Sotiria Hospital, doctors are unable to carry out tests for hepatitis, HIV and tuberculosis. At the Ippocrateio Hospital in Thessaloniki, shortages mean that blood tests cannot be conducted. Hospitals on Naxos and in Sparta have encountered similar problems. Doctors at Nikaia Hospital near Piraeus have been protesting for the last three weeks but their representative, Panos Papanikolaou, said that had they been working as usual and not staging this go-slow action, the hospital would have run out of basic materials, such as bandages and syringes within a day. Meanwhile, businesses that have supplied the orthopedic clinic of the Papanikolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki with equipment began taking back their supplies yesterday due to the outstanding amounts they are owed. Their action coincided with a visit by Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou to the northern city. She pleaded with the suppliers to show some patience and said the government was trying to settle all state hospitals’ outstanding accounts.