According to this the doctors in the state hospitals are going on strike today for five days because of the proposed health reforms. It would seeem from this article that part of the health reform includes offering afternoon surgeries which will come as a shock to a lot of public sector employees where everything finishes by 2.00pm, assuming, of course, that it ever started at all. There are many stories of names on payrolls where jobs don’t exist.
Fortunately I have no direct experience of turning up at a Greek public hospital but having heard the stories from friends who have I’m heading straight to a private clinic. It would seem that the hospitals currently work on the lottery system of bribery and nepotism and I’ve spoken to Greeks who know how the system works but still can’t get it to work for them. Interestingly, the doctors in the public sector are considered to be some of the best doctors but the hospitals themselves could do with some, shall we say, development. Although it doesn’t really matter how good they are if you don’t know who to pay to get to see one.
A few weeks ago I was coming back from one of the islands on one of the flying dolphin boats and we were delayed because two women had been in a car accident and were quite seriously injured and had to be transferred to hospital in Athens. They were brought onto the boat on stretchers with drips and oxygen cylinders but they were accompanied only by a family member; no medically trained person was with them. I had one of the bulk-head seats and so had one lady next to my feet for the 1 hour journey and being one of the most squeamish people alive almost managed to turn the experience into being all about me. Fortunately common sense kicked in and I told myself that if this lady could cope with being dumped onto a boat with no one to look after her I didn’t need to have a fit of the vapours. When we arrived at Pireaus I expected everyone to wait for the ambulance staff to come on the boat and take the patients off. But no, this is Greece and people have things to do and places to go to so they’re not going to be held back by a couple of injured people. When we left the boat the ambulance crew were ignoring the ladies and instead arguing with the family member about the paperwork.
I probably ought to worry about this a lot more but I don’t really know where to start so I’ll keep my head in the sand and hope that we never need to test our health insurance out.