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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM, PASOK cross swords over health policy
  • [02] Papandreou criticises gov't health policy
  • [03] New BoG Gov. eyed
  • [04] Greece popular with Finns

  • [01] PM, PASOK cross swords over health policy

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced on Friday the immediate appointment of 850 hospital intensive care unit (ICU) staff, during discussion of a question on the National Health System (ESY) tabled in parliament by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    Karamanlis said that adequate staffing of the ICUs was a main priority for his government, so that 147 equipped clinics in IC units that were not in operation at this time would become fully operable, and also to increase the personnel in many other such units.

    In total, he said, 850 nursing staff would be appointed through direct procedures from the ASEP's (public sector hiring examinations board) rolling charts for that purpose.

    Karamanlis, responding to charges by Papandreou of a reduction of personnel in the public health sector, said that by end 2009 the hiring would proceed of about 4,500 doctors in excess of the original planning, thus eliminating the "inertia of many years and the non-existence of actions which should have begum in 1993 (when PASOK was still in government), and cited the example of the Attiko University Hospital where "in 2004 there were only 294 developed clinics, whereas today 635 are in operation".

    The premier denied, as "blatant lies", Papandreou's claims that the ESY was on a downward course, and accused PASOK of leaving behind it a "system of mismanagement and corruption", adding that audits into the health sector's finances have increased.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis speaks in Parliament on Friday, 30 May, 2008. ANA-MPA

    [02] Papandreou criticises gov't health policy

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday charged, from Parliament's podium, that health expenditures, as a percentage of GDP, are declining "constantly and ceaselessly" throughout the four years of ND's governance, whereas staff being hired accounted for only half of those retiring.

    He further charged that "mismanagement and corruption are reining in the ESY" and that the health minister was engaging in public relations, while pharmaceutical expenditures have "derailed" due to abolition of the list of approved medicines that are covered by social security funds.

    Citing a newspaper report, the PASOK leader also said that the government's plan was to turn over the health sector to the 'unrestrained' market, just as it has done with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) with the 'shameful' contract (with Deutsche Telekom) it tabled in parliament on Thursday.

    Papandreou further charged that, in the four years of ND governance, no doctors have been hired for the 150 ICUs left by PASOK in 2004, while procurements were made through "unconventional" procedures, and accused the government of not issuing a call for tenders for a radiation machines for the treatment of cancer patients at the Aglaia Kyriakou Children's Hospital.

    Referring to his recent hospitalisation at the KAT hospital, Papandreou said he had ascertained physicians' disappointment with the government's policy, adding that the ESY has problems because it has "bad bosses, you".

    In reply, Karamanlis said the newspaper report cited by Papandreou referred to a report by the Auditors' Corps and reflected "what the ND government inherited".

    "It shows what we inherited at the beginning (of ND's governance) and what, under difficult conditions, we are trying to change," the premier said, adding that he was not claiming that things have reached a satisfactory level.

    "What we are saying, however, and are showing every day, is that, day by day, things are improving," Karamanlis said, and noted that the expenditures for health were 9.4 percent higher and that the new ESY procurements system shielded transparency and guaranteed savings of hundreds of millions of euros annually.

    Karamanlis said that PASOK had left behind it an ESY system with "substantial deficiencies in personnel and debts of 3 billion euros to suppliers," whereas the ND government had secured close to 1.5 billion euros in EU funds for the new programming period (2007-2013).

    "We still have much to do to revive the ESY, and adapt it to the new state of affairs ... and on this course, we have at our side the Greek citizens, who remember, judge and compare," Karamanlis concluded.

    [03] New BoG Gov. eyed

    Former Emporiki and Piraeus Bank CEO George Provopoulos was recommended on Friday by the Bank of Greece (BoG) general council to take over the post of governor of the country's central bank, replacing outgoing BoG Gov. Nick Garganas.

    Provopoulos was born in 1950 in Piraeus, and is married with three children.

    A graduate of the Athens University law school's department of economics, he received his MA and Ph.D in economics from the University of Essex in Britain (1977), and has been an assistant professor at the Athens University's department of economic sciences since 1979.

    He served as vice-president and managing director of Piraeus Bank from 2006 to May 21, 2008 and also as president and managing director of Emporiki Bank from 2004 to 2006. Before that, he was economic consultant at Alpha Bank, and deputy governor of the Bank of Greece from 1990 to 1993.

    Caption: A file photo dated Tuesday, 29 March, 2005 of then Emporiki Bank CEO George Provopoulos. ANA-MPA / PARIS PAPAIOANNOU.

    [04] Greece popular with Finns

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