OPINION

Public healthcare crash

On November 10, Greek public hospitals will suspend all emergency duties. The reason is that suppliers have called a strike because of the mounting debts due to them. The General Hospital in Nikaia, which provides care to the entire, populous, western suburbs of Attica, is unable to accept any patients, since it is at the point of collapse. In fact, the entire National Health System is tottering, because of bad management, staff shortages and a lack of funding. Mostly, though, it is because of an absence of political will: The ruling party has no plan to salvage the healthcare system. At the same time, private healthcare facilities are growing in number and raking in vast profits drawn from healthcare funds and the savings of patients who turn to these establishments because they can’t wait several days or even weeks to undergo a routine examination or minor surgery, or, most tragically, for a bed in an intensive-care unit. And what about the health minister? What about the person elected to protect public health? Dimitris Avramopoulos, one of the longest-surviving ministers in this post, can be seen around, looking quite dapper as he parades through news shows on television. But that’s all he’s doing, because when it comes to worrying about the public health system, he’s nowhere to be seen. He didn’t even appear before the journalists who have accreditation from his ministry to cover its affairs at a time when the health system is in crisis. Anyway, rumor has it that Avramopoulos didn’t even want to stay in this ministry for so long. Alas, he has. And alas again that public hospitals are down on their knees, an affront against every last shred of decency, against the rule of law, social justice, the people’s trust in the government, a degradation of life itself as the right to life is being taken away. The government somehow found 28 billion euros to help the banking system. Let’s see how much it will come up with for the public health system.