By Constantinos Psillides
State doctors will go on a four-hour strike on July 21, followed by a 2- hour strike on July 28, if the state doesn’t meet their demands, their union (PASYKI) general assembly has decided.
The general assembly also decided that a second meeting would take place on July 28, to discuss an indefinite strike, which has not been ruled out.
“Our goal is to serve patients and not to inconvenience them,” read the statement.
PASYKI put forth a number of demands, including that its members be granted a seat on the bodies that deal with establishing the National Health Scheme (NHS), that the state decides on a legal frame governing the operation of public hospitals, a lift on the promotion ban in hospitals as well as clear guideline on the subject of overtime pay and working hours.
PASYKI also asks for job security for contract doctors.
The state doctors’ union general assembly accused the government of taking public health apart by employing a “we do not discuss, we command and the doctors should obey” tactic and for reducing the budget regarding hospitals by €53m. “without it being a troika demand.”
“These are only few of the problems we are facing, but everything leads to the decline of public health and the care provided to our fellow citizens,” the union said.
PASYKI accused government of employing diversionary tactics and weakening the public sector by funnelling patients to private hospitals.
“State doctors cannot sit idly by while public hospitals are being taken apart and hospital care gets turned into a privilege. We will protect the health of our fellow citizens and we will protect the interests of health care professionals,” the statement said.
In May, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis submitted the road map for the implementation of the NHS, which will be partially implemented by mid 2015 and to be fully in place by mid 2016.
The implementation of the NHS is included in the terms of the island’s €10bn bailout
Patsalis’s roadmap has been met with significant reaction and heavy criticism both by the state doctors and the private sector doctors. Last Friday, chairman of the union of private doctors (ENIK) Marios Theodotou said that the proposed scheme had large weaknesses despite the advantages over the current system,