Hospital supplies cut off again

State hospital suppliers yesterday suspended deliveries to three major hospitals in Attica and Piraeus and threatened to extend the boycott to other institutions across the country, blaming the Health and Economy ministries for reneging on a deal reached in June between ministry officials and the suppliers’ union. Unionists said that though the government had made good on pledges to pay off several billion euros in debts to state hospitals for the years 2007 and 2008 using government bonds, it had exempted the debts incurred in 2009 even though these account for the lion’s share of the overall debt burden. Vassilis Manettas, president of the Union of Greek Medical Suppliers (PASYPIE), told Kathimerini that the union had not been fully satisfied with the original deal with Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou and Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, who proposed using 5.3 billion euros in government bonds to pay off the debt. Manettas said that the original agreement would be particularly unfair to the smaller suppliers, who are in more immediate need of money. Cashing in the bonds before they reach maturity would mean they would lose up to 30 percent of the value. According to sources, the General Accounting Office has not yet received any requests for payment from members of PASYPIE. Meanwhile, the union has warned of an accumulation of even more debt as, despite the government’s pledges that invoices issued this year would be paid within 60 days, few state hospitals have kept to this.

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