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Greek health workers strike over draft bill on national health system

Greek health workers strike over draft bill on national health system
Bill would result in commercialization of health system, worsening of service quality, say doctors and other health staff

By Ahmet Gencturk

ANKARA (AA) - Greek health workers have gone on strike over a draft bill that critics say threatens to commercialize medical care in the country, local media reported on Thursday.

Multiple unions are backing the strike against the draft bill, which was proposed by the Health Ministry and is currently in parliament for ratification, saying that it promotes privatization in the National Healthcare Service (ESY).

The bill, allowing for the part-time employment of doctors in public hospitals in a bid to cut back on government health spending, has received criticism from ESY physicians.

In a statement, the Federation of Hospital Doctors of Greece (OENGE) said the draft bill amounts to blackmail of both patients and doctors, arguing that it made patients into customers and doctors into sellers.

Another union joining the strike, the Panhellenic Federation of Employees at Public Hospitals (POEDIN), called on the government to increase public health funding in the budget instead of seeking ways to save money at the cost of the health of citizens.

"We demand the strengthening of ESY with adequate staffing and funding," it said.

The legislation, if passed, is expected to affect public medical facilities, particularly in Athens and the adjacent port city of Piraeus, the Left.gr news outlet reported.

Opposition parties SYRIZA-PS and MeRA25 also expressed their support for the strike and opposition to the bill.​​​​​​​

source: News Feed
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