Greece Closes Down Hospitals and Clinics
September 22, 2012 • 10:03AM

The Greek healthcare sector destruction continues under the cover of merging hospitals and clinics. Greek Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos on Thursday announced the closure of two Social Security Foundation (IKA) clinics and the transfer of their equipment and staff to three Attica hospitals. This is said to save a measly 3.1 million euros annually from expenditures for the rent and maintenance of the buildings.

Lykourentzos said this would not result in any layoffs. Of course, no one believes him, and it doesn't matter anyway, since most hospital staff are simply not being paid, some having gone payless for as long as half a year.

In comments to Kathimerini, Dimitris Varnavas, the head of the national union representing hospital doctors, accused Lykourentzos of executing the Troika's orders, claiming that the government's goal was to demolish the public health system and close down half of the country's 132 state hospitals.

It appears that next week's general strike in Greece could very well become an unprecedented event. Now the head of the Public Power Corporation's labor union, Nikos Fotopoulos, has reportedly called on fellow unionists to bring Greece to a standstill during the strike, in a bid to force the government to abandon its latest austerity measures. He has proposed that unionists take over ministries and public buildings in a sign of protest and that the general strike be followed by rolling 48-hour strikes.

"We have to make it impossible for them to count the number of sit-ins," he is reported to have said during a meeting of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), Greece's main private sector union. Everything has to stop dead, said Fotopoulos, whose union is known for its militant activity.