On the occasion of afternoon surgeries the Minister of Health, Adonis Georgiades spoke to ERTNews.

“In the morning surgeries we are full, as full as we can be. The main argument they say is that we have closed surgeries, so you should “hire to open more surgical beds, and not need afternoons and have mornings”, but this does not answer the basic question: why can we hire others? We make invitations for recruitment and no one comes”, said the Minister initially.

“We have made announcements for the recruitment of anesthesiologists in Hippocrates of Thessaloniki 7 times and zero people have come, that is, what do you think we will make 10 invitations and those who did not come the other times will come?”, he added.

Target, as the Minister said, it is the afternoon surgeries to make the position of the doctor, the anesthetist, the nurse of the NHS, more financially attractive. “That way we will be able to recruit more for the morning surgeries as well,” he said.

“Those who accuse us “why don’t you recruit more in the morning surgeries”, do not realize that one of the reasons we expect to be able to have more attendance at the invitations of doctors and nurses and anesthesiologists is the afternoon surgeries and not only that,” he added.

“The patient asked to meet us”

THE Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadisalso referred to 67-year-old patient who had been waiting since 2019 for a knee replacement and underwent the operation, after years of waiting, thus inaugurating the afternoon surgeries at Thessaloniki. “When I arrived at the hospital, the same patient asked us to come upstairs and meet us. He asked to have a camera and to make a statement.”

“This patient was waiting in Papageorgiou to be operated on. Wait, wait, wait, it wasn’t his turn. He wanted a specific clinic, a specific doctor and the doctor was not available, so he stayed on hold. He had a choice to go into the private sector. He just had to pay four grand. We offered him the doctor he wanted in the hospital he wanted, for a thousand and he decided to come. Why is it so bad to offer someone an extra option that both saves them money and saves them time and at the same time, reduces the pressure on the morning list so that those who don’t have money can get surgery faster? This is a win-win reform. Only the clinician loses,” he emphasized.

The voluntary of the thing “is a risk for me actually,” said Mr. Georgiadis. He emphasized that today we are on the third day of reform and “it’s going to hell”.

He explained that, “we have to strictly check the observance of my ministerial decision which says that you cannot transfer morning surgeries to the afternoon and we are monitoring this”.

“It’s in favor of people who don’t want to spend money on surgeries, because they will move faster.”

“What’s better than having a secret transaction under the table, so-called sachet or to have a public clean transaction that does not deprive the other man of his place? With the bag it is not only a question of tax evasion or unjust enrichment. It’s that I’m ahead because I gave the packet and I’m taking your turn. But if I go in the afternoon, I don’t take your turn. On the contrary, you go one position faster to be operated on. So, it’s not just the tax issue or the moral issue. It is in favor of people who do not want to spend money on surgeries, because they will move faster”, the Minister emphasized.

At the same time, he explained that: “We also put in the bill under consultation, article that we allow all NHS doctors to have private work as well. So, to those who can’t do afternoon surgeries at their hospital or are in non-surgical specialties, we say if you want to work in the private sector in your spare time and increase your income.”

“The world will move towards the clean and the legal rather than the illegal which is what they are used to”

Regarding the envelope, the Minister added that: “I have no illusions that we will completely eliminate the envelope.”

“I wish we could. I hate the pouch, but I understand that it is unfortunately something that exists. Not to all doctors, not to the majority, to some. And apparently they will continue to do so. But I believe that when you give the other a legal way out, little by little the system balances out. And for the doctor it is much more reasonable to have legal money, but also for the patient who gives it, it is much better to get a receipt and put it on the tax return, than to give black to pay extra and tax. So, I believe that little by little the reform is starting to work. The world will go towards the clean and the legal rather than the illegal which is what they are used to.”

Mr. Georgiadis said that before Easter it will be on the air website of the Ministry of Healthwhere all Greek citizens will have full access to all NHS clinics, not by name, for reasons of personal data, but by numbers.

About whether it can be used private security in afternoon surgery, Mr. Georgiadis said: “Today it is still not possible, these are being formed, but I have been in contact with the insurance companies and they have shown a great interest, some of them have already expressed their interest in participating in the afternoons in writing. So I believe that soon there will be programs from private insurance companies that will cover the afternoon surgeries.”