Greek hospitals turn away patients, go without basics as budget crunch bites

Greek hospitals turn away patients, go without basics as budget crunch bites
KAT Hospital in Athens, in better days. (Image via ekathimerini.com)

Greek hospitals have run out of supplies such as painkillers, scissors and sheets as swingeing budget cuts have left the health service unable to provide even basic provisions for operations and medical procedures.

Huge cuts to the healthcare budget, amid the economic turmoil which made millions unemployed, have left than 2.5m Greeks uninsured, up from 500,000 in 2008, the Times reported.

On coming to power the Syriza government scrapped the €5 fee for attending state hospitals and pledged to hire 4,500 more health workers, despite the need for austerity and criticism from creditors. …

Reports have surfaced of patients being turned away from hospital because there was no meter to measure their high blood pressure, while others have had to do without painkillers during medical procedures. One patient was even asked to bring their own sheets to hospital.

A trainee surgeon at KAT, a respected state hospital in Athens, said the situation was at “breaking point”.

“There is no money to repair medical equipment, no money for ambulances to use for petrol, no money to hire nurses and no money to buy modern surgical supplies,” he told the Times.

The news comes as the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, warned the country would run out of money in a matter of weeks.

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