[MGSA-L] Greek Public-Health Tragedy Looms, Academics Write in Lancet

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Mon Oct 10 21:19:41 PDT 2011


Greek Public-Health Tragedy Looms, Academics Write in Lancet
By Alan Purkiss - Oct 10, 2011 8:00 AM ET

The financial catastrophe in Greece is damaging public health and
wellbeing, according to six medical academics including Alexander
Kentikelenis and David Stuckler of Cambridge University and Martin
McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In a letter published in the Lancet, a medical journal with offices in
London, New York and Beijing, they analyzed European Union statistics
based on replies by 12,346 and 15,045 Greeks in 2007 and 2009,

The group said 2009 saw significant increases in the number of people
reporting that they didn’t see a doctor or dentist despite feeling it
was necessary to do so, and in those reporting that their health was
“bad” or “very bad.”

Since Greece’s public health-care system entitles citizens to visit
general practitioners free of charge and to attend hospital outpatient
clinics at low cost, the reduced access probably reflected the fact
that there were cuts of about 40 percent in hospital budgets,
understaffing, occasional shortages of medical supplies, and bribery
of medical staff to jump queues at overcrowded hospitals, the group

The number of suicides was 17 percent higher in 2009 than in 2007,
unofficial figures cited in parliament mentioned a 25 percent increase
in 2010 compared with 2009, and the minister of health reported a 40
percent rise in the first half of 2011 compared with the year-earlier
period, according to the letter.

Greece’s national suicide helpline reported that 25 percent of callers
in 2010 faced financial difficulties, the group said, concluding that
“greater attention to health and health-care access is needed to
ensure that the Greek crisis does not undermine the ultimate source of
the country’s wealth -- its people.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Purkiss in London on
apurkiss at bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at
ckeatinge at bloomberg.net.
June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877
E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com

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