OPINION

Health problems

Recruiting staff has always been a problem for Greece’s troubled health sector. It was an issue during the PASOK years and it has beset New Democracy’s two-and-a-half-year rule. Dealing with the issue often gets coupled with calls for more transparency. The longevity of Greece’s party state required the creation of ASEP, the supreme council for personnel selection, in a bid to introduce objective criteria for the recruitment of hospital staff and avoid speculation that damaged the entire political system. However, the establishment of objective standards brought in extra, time-consuming procedures that have made the system more inflexible. But the situation in Greece borders on the unthinkable. Dozens of state clinics fail to operate at their full potential, while medical equipment worth millions of euros is left to rust in hospital stock rooms because there is no trained staff on hand to operate it. Most importantly, thousands of people are put through the ringer on a daily basis, deprived of proper medical care amid paralysis among state officials. ASEP officials say that the hiring process can be completed in the next six months, but they still must establish a mechanism for swift and objective recruitment. And this is in a country which sees more than 100,000 pupils take examinations for university entry every year and have their results published in less than a month. Ruling ND and the other political parties must rush to find a solution to this pressing problem, a snag in the state apparatus which could be responsible for the loss of human lives. They must put their differences aside and join hands to design a selection system that will fill the current shortages as well as cover any likely future deficits. No one should be allowed to toy with people’s health, especially a country’s leaders.