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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 

  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

A Patient Removed from Surgery Because He Can’t Pay




Press Release

A Patient Removed from Surgery Because He Can’t Pay
  

We have received a complaint from a patient that seemed incredible, even for us who see so many.  Sadly it turned out to be all too true, and confirmed by a social worker concerned.  Specifically, last week, a fifty-four year old unemployed and uninsured citizen who had serous heart trouble and who required immediate care and surgery was admitted to Evangelismos hospital.

The hospital initially refused to admit him.  The patient declared he would produce a welfare health booklet when it was issued.  Then, after the insistence of the patient’s attending physician, the hospital agreed to proceed with the surgery as the life of the patient was in danger.

The patient had been prepared for surgery, stretched out on the table, intravenous tubes inserted and shaved, when a  person from the accounting department rushed in and forced the doctors to stop because the patient had not given them the welfare booklet. 

It goes without saying that the patient had already asked the services at the municipality to hasten the issuance of the booklet, but what was he to do meanwhile?  Was he to wait for bureaucracy to increase its pace?

How could that accountant even get in the operating theatre to stop a surgery, over the authority of the surgeon, as a life was at stake?

Let the Greek Ministry of Health tell us where we can ask for help since it is evident that patient’s lives have now become nothing more than an accounting issue.

We expect answers from the Ministry of Health on this unacceptable incident and require an IMMEDIATE admission of the patient to hospital and the necessary medical procedures to be carried out to treat him.

1st update - 14/05/2014

We were just informed by the patient that he has been admitted to “Evangelismos” hospital by the Director this morning and tomorrow he will go into surgery.  We hope the directors of all public hospitals will likewise show some sensitivity to all uninsured patients and not only when the problems are publicized.  Cases like this one are not to be tolerated; this is not the role that the Greek Public Health System should play in our lives.  Accounts and money cannot be more important than a human life, and even more when it concerns three million uninsured citizens.  Whoever endangers human life will have to answer for it in a court – sooner or later

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  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