GREEK DOCTORS DEMAND ‘PUT AN END TO PRIVATE SECTOR’ – fill 30,000 vacancies in the Greek NHS

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Greek hospital doctors outside the Athens Health Ministry – they are demanding the requisitioning of the private sector

THE Greek National Health Service doctors’ union OENGE has called on all doctors, trades unions, trades councils and social association to ‘organise jointly mobilisations at hospitals’ entrances and protests at health administrative centres’ on 7 April, the ‘World Health Day – National Day of Action’.

The call was issued last Wednesday by the President of OENGE, Afrodite Rentziou, at the entrance of the Attiko Hospital near Athens. Several trades unions federations have pledged participation.

Rentziou said that only 75 new beds have been placed in Intensive Care Units, on top of 600, when the necessary number exceeds 3,500.

She added that before the coronavirus pandemic, there were 30,000 unfilled vacancies in the Greek NHS and the government now say that only 4,000 would be hired and for just a few months.

Rentziou appealed for the immediate employment of some 900 doctors who have applied for work in the hospitals.

OENGE have put forward three main demands. Mass employment of doctors, nurses and hospital staff; total unconditional requisition of the health private sector and integration with the Greek NHS; and protective clothing, masks and gloves for all medical staff.

On Thursday evening the Greek government’s health spokesperson Dr Sotiris Tsiodras announced that 1,514 people have been infected by the coronavirus and 53 have died since March 10.

The refugee camp at Ritsona, 50 km north of Athens, declared a lockdown on Thursday following 20 reported cases of coronavirus infection.

Dozens of villages in northern Greece have been declared infected by the virus and police and Greek Army units enforce a total prohibition of movement in or out of the villages.

The large ferry Eleftherios Venizelos with some 350 people on board of whom 120 have tested positive, according to the seafarers’ crew union PENEN, has docked in the port of Piraeus and will remain on a 14-day quarantine.

PENEN have denounced shipping companies for not declaring infections on cargo ships.