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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meeting with the Greek Minister of Health and His Aides





PRESS RELEASE

Meeting with the Greek Minister of Health and His Aides


On Tuesday 24 January 2014 a delegation of volunteers from our clinic met with the Greek Minister of Health Mr. Andonis Georgiadis and his confidential aides.  The Minister stayed in the meeting a brief period, but the meeting with his aides lasted more than 90 minutes and in it we discussed several serious topics concerning health care for the uninsured and other topics concerning public health.

From our side, we raised the issue of the uninsured and their access to hospitalization which is often a life or death issue (literally).  Unfortunately, when we asked if the new system of primary health care would provide free health coverage for uninsured patients, the response was negative.

-            We discussed the case of our cancer patient who has still to complete his treatment and who owes a huge amount to the hospital and they assured us they would deal with this case.
-            They pledged that they would provide cost-free cover to any of our uninsured patients that have urgent need of hospitalization
-            We proposed the establishment of a committee with experts in the field, to study the effects of the lack of systematic medical care for the chronically ill, such as diabetic patients.  How does this lack of care impact society, the level of medical care and the economy of the country? 
-            We discussed the subject of diseases such as Hepatitis B, Multiple Sclerosis, etc. as well as the possibility of providing coverage for medication for these patients, in order to protect public health.
-            We discussed the continuing availability of anti-cancer medications to the Oncology Clinic at Sotiria Hospital.  The oncology clinic is treating uninsured cancer patients on a volunteer basis.  They assured us that the flow of medication would continue to them.
Toward the end of the meeting the aides to the Minister asked MKIE to prepare a study that would facilitate the free treatment of the uninsured by the Pubic Health System.  Such a proposal was tempting to us.  In fact, we have already made certain proposals on how to deal with uninsured patients (This was back in March of 2013! http://mki-ellinikou.blogspot.gr/2013/04/blog-post_8.html ).  But, in essence, asking a voluntary community clinic to put forth such a plan is unrealistic, even if we do have 230 volunteers.  What this clinic can do – and does – apart from providing primary health care is to point out the health problems we still have, to remind the government of its responsibilities to the people and to propose solutions.  But these studies should have been done long before so many cuts to the health system were made – and are still to be made.  To proceed without a plan is to proceed “blindly”; the sole concern being cost reduction and without taking into consideration the cost in human lives.

A real plan involves economic and political aspects to make it comprehensive and feasible.  We certainly know the health problems and the needs, but we don’t pretend to have the “gestalt” view of a government.  But at least we have our priorities straight; the lives and health of our fellow citizens are on top of our priority list.

At the close of the meeting, we assured the ministry that we were not playing any political games because we are not politically involved.  Whatever facts we present have been authenticated and verified, and we consider it our duty to keep the public informed as further cases arise.

Once more, we call the attention of the Ministry to the plight of the uninsured and stress that we can’t go on treating them haphazardly on a case-by-case basis.  There are too many cases.  If we are care about saving human lives, we need to open and deploy the entire public health system.

For the Ministry of Health to neglect and ignore primary health for uninsured patients defies logic.  Later, when their illness has progressed, the government will have to pay much more money to keep them alive – money which they will not be recovered, because the already impoverished will be in a much more wretched condition.  So the piecemeal approach which is being used now, not only costs more lives, it costs more money too!  (We have actually reached the point where, in order to convince them that it is worth it to save human lives, we have to first convince them that our approach is more profitable!)

The destiny of 3 million uninsured citizens is in the hands of our political leaders.  They must find an immediate solution.



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 - 14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com


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