Greek state hospital doctors, nurses and administrative staff have held a strike to protest the government’s austerity measures which allegedly aim to make the healthcare sector “more efficient.”
Hundreds of hospital workers congregated outside the parliament building and the Health Ministry building in central Athens on Thursday, as well as other parts of the austerity-stricken country.
The nationwide walkout left tens of thousands of patients without basic medical care. The 27 hospitals in the capital were also forced to run on emergency staff as a result.
Unions described the proposed reforms as destructive to the healthcare sector. The reform plan includes layoffs and the closure of hospitals and clinics across Greece.
Doctors and other healthcare workers said they will continue their industrial action until Friday.
Under the new austerity reforms plan, the Greek government will suspend 25,000 public sector workers on partial pay and make 4,000 more redundant.
Those affected will receive 75 percent of their salary for 8 months and will then either be reallocated or dismissed.
The government’s plan of forced transfers and layoffs will have a direct impact on 8,000 healthcare professionals. An undisclosed number of hospitals and clinics will also be closed across the country as part of the plan.
Since 2010, Greece has received more than $320 billion in loans from international creditors. This has caused a soaring unemployment rate of over 28 percent.
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