From Papageorgiou hospital the first afternoon surgeries in the country started shortly before 4 pm. These are two total knee arthroplasty surgeries on a 67-year-old and a 73-year-old, and a hernia operation on a 54-year-old. Shortly before the start of the afternoon surgeries, the Minister of HealthAdonis Georgiades, accompanied by the Deputy Ministers, Marios Themistokleous and Dimitris Vartzopoulos, visited the operating rooms of Papageorgiou, met the surgical team and spoke with the first patient who underwent knee arthroplasty. The cost of the first operations as a symbolic move will be covered by the Ministry of Health. It should be noted that approximately 50,000 afternoon surgeries will be covered by the Recovery Fund.

“I really feel very happy that something we have been talking about for 32 years now is becoming a reality,” said Mr. Georgiadis, who thanked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “for the unlimited trust he showed me so that today we can carry out this historic event for the National Health Service” and the responsible deputy minister, Mr. Themistokleous, who was the protagonist of this whole effort.

“Above all, however, I want to thank the many doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, paramedics, in almost all the hospitals of the country who have already declared their participation in the reform of the afternoon surgeries. Already now, after the Papageorgiou hospital we will find ourselves at the AHEPA hospital, where the afternoon surgeries also begin, tomorrow in the next hospital, the day after tomorrow in the next, every day additional hospitals and clinics follow the reform. However, I especially want to thank the patients who, despite the negative climate that some tried to cultivate, rushed to participate in the afternoon surgeries, not only in Thessaloniki, Athens, Larissa, Alexandroupoli and many other cities in Greece, he pointed out. Mr. Georgiadis.

The Minister of Health expressed the certainty that in a few weeks, when the system will now start working properly, and when the funding from the Recovery Fundthe public will realize that this is a reform in favor of the National Health System, but mainly in favor of the patients.

“I would like to say that today’s special surgeries, here and at ACHEPA, following the decisions of the Prime Minister, even though the patients had paid for them, by ministerial decision, because they were anxious to be operated on, we will return their money. The Ministry of Health will pay for them as one symbolic move to start this great reform that changes the history of the NHS. I want all our fellow citizens to know that we will not stop working day and night so that we can present the best NHS. Those who think we are working against it are wrong. The NHS we love it, we respect it, we trust it, both the medical, as well as nursing and other staff and all the reforms we are making are so that the NHS can function with dignity for many years to come and not naturally against them, as some think” added Mr. Georgiadis.

Referring to the conversation he had with the first patient before entering the afternoon surgery he said: “The first patient did the honor of speaking. It was very emotional because he himself said that he had been waiting to be operated on since 2019, he couldn’t find a way to operate, and when he found out that there are afternoon surgeries, he was the first to call and ask to come and be operated on. It is a touching moment that with an initiative you took, even one of your fellow citizens found a solution to a chronic problem he had. He told us about his whole adventure until today when he got to be operated on.”