[MGSA-L] Greece 'in denial' over healthcare problems

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Sat Mar 22 17:43:36 PDT 2014

Greece 'in denial' over healthcare problems


The Greek government and the troika are “in denial” about the scale of the
problems created by unprecedented cuts in health spending in the southern
EU country, experts have said.


In an report published by one of the leading medical journals, The Lancet,
academics from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say that the Greek government is
wrong when it claims that public-spending cuts have not damaged health.

Furthermore, it is also true that vulnerable groups, such as the homeless
or uninsured people have been denied access to healthcare in Greece,
according to the report.

The humanitarian group Doctors of the World has previously revealed that
while most of the patients who receive free treatment at the group's
clinics have been migrants, almost half of the patients have been Greek
citizens over the past year, due to the financial crisis.

“In view of this detailed body of evidence for the harmful effects of
austerity on health, the failure of public recognition of the issue by
successive Greek governments and international agencies is remarkable,” the
report read.

“Indeed, the predominant response has been denial that any serious
difficulties exist … This dismissal meets the criteria for denialism, which
refuses to acknowledge, and indeed attempts to discredit, scientific
research,” the report continued.

The experts claim that there is evidence of rising infant mortality rates,
soaring levels of HIV infection among drug users, the return of malaria, as
well as a surge in the suicides from 2009 to 2011.

The austerity cuts by Greece's government and the troika have harmed public
health in Greece and left 800,000 without access to healthcare or social
security, mainly because they lost their public health insurance after
being unemployed for more than a year.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis
also stated that he did not consider illnesses like cancer to be "urgent,
unless you are in the final stages".

The remarks fell after it emerged in Greek media that an uninsured cancer
patient, Nikos Solomos, would have to pay €50,000 for a life-saving
operation, out of his own pocket.

Georgiadis said that emergency cases are still being treated at public
hospitals irrespective of insurance status. A €13 million fund for the most
acute cases from money seized in a crackdown on tax evasion has been set up
by the Greek government.

Press articles
The Lancet: Greece’s health crisis: from austerity to denialism


Enet: Health minister: Cancer 'not urgent unless in final stages'


June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877
E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com
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