The ‘Memorandum’ is leading to the collapse of hospital services in Crete

4 January 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

The public health sector in hospitals in Crete is suffering because of ‘Memorandum’ policies pursued by the Troika that have had a devastating impact on the social and economic life of the population. On a daily basis the right of Greek citizens to basic healthcare is being violated, putting their health further at risk.

More specifically, PAGNI (the General University Hospital of Heraklion) suffers from shortages in consumable medical supplies and a lack of funding. There is no money for the procurement of a modern radiotherapy machine to replace the old one which is frequently breaking down and should have been withdrawn from service six years ago. The health of cancer patients is therefore suffering as their treatment is being postponed.

According to the results of an investigation by the association of suppliers of medical and biotechnological products, debts to suppliers of Venizelos General Hospital in Heraklion and PAGNI are almost all overdue because of a shortage of funds.

Due to lack of funds and understaffing at the Aghios Nikolaos hospital, clinics have been merged which is having adverse consequences for patients and employees alike.

In view of the above, will the Commission say:

Will it continue, as a member of the Troika, to insist on the ‘Memorandum’ policy of forced fiscal adjustment in Greece, thereby depriving the hospitals of Crete of the necessary funds and jeopardising the health of patients?

Source: European Parliament

Answer given by Mr Moscovici on behalf of the Commission

According to Article 168, §7 of the TFEU(1), the definition of national health policy and the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care fall mainly under the competence of the Member States. The Commission supports the intention of the Greek Ministry of Health to enhance the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the Greek National Health System (NHS) as well as the quality and accessibility of public healthcare.

Previous reforms addressed long-standing weaknesses (improving hospital management, enhancing procurement, better managing demand for pharmaceuticals, commissioning private sector healthcare providers in a cost effective manner). These measures were designed to control expenditure in a way that would not compromise standards(2).

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the new ESM(3) programme furthers the efforts to restructure the NHS(4). It promotes cutting waste and improving governance to make sure that the system is as effective and efficient as possible, which is crucial to meet the needs of the population but also to ensure sustainability.

Financial support through the European Structural and Investment Funds is provided to actions proposed by Greece according to its national priorities including funding of technical assistance provided by the World Health Organisation with the aim to strengthen capacity so as to provide universal health coverage. Moreover, the Commission, in the regular review missions to Greece and within the limits of its mandate, discusses with the Greek authorities any relevant public health concerns related to quality and access to healthcare and is open to assist further if required, notably through the provision of technical support by the SRSS(5).

(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
(2) Section 3.3 of the Social Impact Assessment:
(3) European Stability Mechanism.
(4) Section 2.5.2 of the MoU provides the details:
(5) Structural Reform Support Service.

Source: European Parliament


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