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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-09-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] 562 civil servants fired in 2014 for transgressions including absenteeism and stealing
  • [02] Controls on medical tests necessary to curb overspending, health minister says
  • [03] Parliamentary committee approves contracts for hydrocarbons exploratory drilling in western Greece
  • [04] Solvex-Tourne bankruptcy leaves 3,000-odd Russians stranded in Greece

  • [01] 562 civil servants fired in 2014 for transgressions including absenteeism and stealing

    ANA-MPA - A total of 562 civil servants have been fired from the beginning of the year for misconduct, the ministry of Administrative Reform said on Tuesday.

    A total of 351 civil servants were fired in 2012 and 2013, it said, for similar reasons. They include staff who carried out midsdemeanours and criminal charges and have had final court rulings issued against them, as well as staff charged with absenteeism or with filing fake technical and university degrees and requested certificates.

    The ministry issued a sample of this year's cases, which include civil servants who stole six-figure amounts by transferring them to personal accounts, officials who were bribed to overlook licencing non-compliance, staff who issued fake receipts to receive compensation which they then pocketed, and a civil servant who was absent for 558 days between 2012 and 2013 and was found to have moved abroad.

    [02] Controls on medical tests necessary to curb overspending, health minister says

    ANA-MPA - Health Minister Makis Voridis on Tuesday stressed the need for "structural intervention" in order to control the number of medical tests prescribed, saying this was necessary in order to curb excessive spending on health and to optimise preventative medicine practice.

    In a press conference, the minister presented figures showing steadily rising spending on diagnostic tests, which had jumped from 300 million euros in 2012 to 500 million euros in 2013, while the total of the closed budget of 323 million euros had been exceeded in the first half of 2014, to reach 340 million euros.

    "If we had not intervened, spending would have reached 700 million euros," the minister pointed out.

    He said the ministerial decision established terms and conditions for conducting tests based on guidelines that existed in other countries and changing the standard practice until this time. For example, the smear test will no longer be recommended for women under 21 and for those over 65 whose previous tests were negative, while it will be carried out every three years for those aged 21 to 65.

    "This measure protects the honest, organised and serious doctor from those engaging in factitious prescription writing," the minister said.

    He clarified that doctors will still be able to prescribe tests and that these will be carried out but they would also be subject to scrutiny from EOPYY, Greece's national healthcare services provider, while doctors will be required to explain their diagnosis and why the test is necessary.

    Doctors, on their part, object strongly to the new measures and stress that the cutbacks in medical tests are "unacceptable" and place lives at risk. The head of the Union Federation of Hospital Doctors of Greece (OENGE) Dimitris Varnavas emphasised that cervical screening and prostate exams are huge achievements of medical science that prevent very serious diseases.

    "It is tragic for the government to strike these tests overnight for purely financial reasons, leaving citizens unprotected against lethal ailments," he said, urging international medical agencies to intervene and stop the "criminal policy of cutbacks in health".

    [03] Parliamentary committee approves contracts for hydrocarbons exploratory drilling in western Greece

    ANA-MPA - The parliamentary Standing Committee on Production and Trade on Tuesday approved with a majority vote the three contracts for concessions to carry out exploratory drilling for hydrocarbons in Katakolo, Ioannina and the Gulf of Patras - all in western Greece - sponsored by the ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

    A fourth contract was also introduced, amending an existing contract for hydrocarbons exploratory drilling in the Thracian Sea, northern Greece.

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) has said that this is the only contract it will approve because all the rest constitute a sell-off of the country's underground wealth through fast-track procedures.

    [File photo]

    [04] Solvex-Tourne bankruptcy leaves 3,000-odd Russians stranded in Greece

    ANA-MPA - The sudden bankruptcy of the Russian travel agency Solvex-Tourne has left an estimated 3,000 Russian tourists stranded in Greece, northern Greek tourist industry associations said on Tuesday.

    They expressed fears that more Russian travel agencies might go belly-up after the St. Petersburg-based travel company became the third in a row affecting Greece, after Labirint and Intaer, to go bankrupt over the summer.

    The successive bankruptcies have cost Greek companies an estimated 6-7 million euros in turnover, while unlucky Solvex clients will be forced to extend their stay in Greece until the Russian side organises flights for their return.

    This will affect some 500 tourists currently in the northern Greek peninsula of Halkidiki, currently staying at over 30 hotels on the island, and some 850 Russians staying at 40 hotels on the island of Zakynthos. The last flight operated by Solvex arrived Zakynthos on Monday morning, shortly before the company's bankruptcy was announced, with 120 people on board.

    The Solvex bankruptcy is the last of 16 medium-sized travel agencies that have folded in Russia during the summer of 2014, affecting tens of thousands of Russian holiday makers.

    [File photo]


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