State doctors’ union Pasyki hit back at the health minister on Sunday, expressing surprise at remarks he made on November 10, speaking at the event ‘The NHS – time to be responsible’ organised by the Social and Labour Studies Foundation (IKEM).
The new controversy erupted after Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis expressed his regrets that doctors in the public sector treat patients as “inferior beings”, adding that they sometimes treat them without a trace of respect and regard them as a nuisance. Though this is not the norm, he went on to say, it is not something that can be accepted in a modern European state and needs to be changed.
“The minister of health once again did not resist the temptation to judge the doctors in state hospitals, attributing their behaviour as not being consistent with the medical profession and the elementary rules of social behaviour,” the union responded.
“If what the minister says is true, then he carries an unbearably heavy responsibility, since as a political head he has not taken any measures against those who behave in an inappropriate manner, as is required, but has tolerated it,” the union’s statement added. “Accusations and statements of this type are considered a deliberate distortion of reality by the union and give the worst impressions, undermining the good atmosphere in the dialogue that we have sought.”
Pasyki called on the minister to immediately withdraw the unacceptable statements which “offend all of our members, the doctors in the public health sector”.
There should be no generalisations judging all the doctors by isolated incidents, the union stressed. Incidents cannot be addressed in this way, but when such behaviour is observed there should be a prompt investigation to see who is accountable.
This controversy is one of many disagreements between the union and Pamboridis who have long been at loggerheads over a number of issues including working hours, the future of the health system, the appointment of doctors in state hospitals, waiting lists for patients and bribery cases in the public health sector.