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Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Greek Ministry of Health Doesn’t Recognize its own Guidelines, The Health of Four Hepatitis Patients Left to Chance





Press Release

The Greek Ministry of Health Doesn’t Recognize its own Guidelines,
The Health of Four Hepatitis Patients Left to Chance



The public perception of the health sector in the last few years has been of a Health Ministry managed by those following a callous policy of placing numbers and budget concerns before public health.  Is it possible that this is the kinder interpretation of what’s going on?

On 11 March 2014, MCCH sent an urgent letter to the Greek Health Ministry.  This was followed on the 27th of March by an appeal to help four uninsured and unemployed patients with hepatitis.  The public hospitals will not treat them unless they pay for their treatment.  These four came to our clinic for help.  And we did everything we could to find help within the system to get them the treatment needed.  That turned out to be impossible. 

The Odyssey started on 11 March with the Ministry of Health.  In addition to the appeals we made, we contacted three different officials in the Ministry to whom we explained that this was a matter of public health.  You can read all the detail of this exchange here (in Greek).

One official we contacted told us that medicatio
ns would be found for the patients.  Another told us to get in direct contact with the drug companies and the third contacted us simply to say what a wonderful job the Ministry of Health is doing….without telling us what they could do for our four hepatitis patients.

A few days ago we were informed by the NGO “Praksis” that based on a circular issued by the Greek Ministry of Health (ADA B49KTH-55P, dated 02/05/2012 marked Extremely Urgent) which you can find here (in Greek) the Ministry of Health informs the administration of public hospitals that the uninsured and destitute (Greeks and immigrants) are entitled to COST-FREE access to the Greek Public Health System when their health is severely compromised, or if they have been infected by HIV/AIDS or other severe infectious diseases.

In short, the Greek Ministry of Health has given very clear orders that they have not carried out, let alone the administrators of the public hospitals!!

Furthermore, the Greek Ministry of Health in a written response to question from parliament, (Protocol number 115406 dated 10/04/2014 – i.e. exactly one month after our first letter regarding the four hepatitis patients) – which you can read here (in Greek) – say exactly the same thing as the circular referred to above.

So how is it that officials of the Ministry of Health can ignore their own guidelines and their own answers to Parliament?

We can only conclude that either the officials of the Ministry of Health are so uninformed of their own policies that the lives of citizens are recklessly endangered on a daily basis, or they ARE aware of these guidelines and knowingly ignore them.  In either case about the kindest word you can use is “incompetent.”  Whichever the case, this situation must be investigated immediately.  And what is our Minister of Health going to do about such a serious issue?

How is it possible that our Minister of Health has appeared in the media stating that he will help 2.5 million uninsured (the true number is 3 million uninsured, based on numbers from The National Organization of Health Providers-EOPPY) by the end of 2013 and did not.  And now, he can’t find a solution for only four (!) uninsured citizens whose lives are in danger.  Why can’t a solution for this problem be found?

Why declare that solutions will be found AFTER elections?

We simply present the facts and expect answers from those “responsible” in the Ministry of Health. 

Our four patients will go to a public hospital and request assistance.  They will have the circular stating government guidelines with them.  We can only hope they won’t face any problems…

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

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