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Athens Doctors Say ‘Guardian’ Story a Blow to Greece’s Health Tourism

The Athens Medical Association (ISA) is calling on the government to immediately step up efforts to put the Greek public health system in order, following a shameful report in the Guardian this week titled ‘’Patients Who Should Live are Dying: Greece’s Public Health Meltdown’’.

The association, headed by George Patoulis, released a statement on Monday, urging the government to take action and upgrade the country’s ailing health system, ‘’which is being depicted in international media and is a blow to our country, threatening its tourism sector’’.

‘’The new year got off to an ominous start for the National Healthcare Service (ESY) with its collapse being reported not only by Greek media but by international outlets as well,’’ the statement read, referring to the article which says that the “EU’s most chaotic state is in the midst of a public health meltdown. ‘In the name of tough fiscal targets, people who might otherwise survive are dying’”.

The ISA statement adds that the situation is a result of ‘’both bailout policies and inability on the part of health ministry leadership to implement the necessary reforms and establish a sustainable health policy’’.

 Late last year, in an interview to the Athens News Agency, Patoulis (photo), had again called on the government to take action as the Greek health system is “about to collapse”, impacting patients, particularly those belonging to vulnerable groups, who end up paying for health services or being excluded, as well as doctors, who are forced to leave Greece in search of a better future.

Once much-needed reforms are in place, they will pave the way for the establishment of Greece as a leading medical tourism destination, Patoulis underlined.

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