After nearly nine years of cutbacks in Greece’s health care system as part of austerity measures attached to three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($369.26 billion), the government plans to hire 4,000 doctors and 6,000 additional staff.
That comes as some 10,000 doctors had fled during the economic crisis, moving to other countries for higher-paying positions and more security as those who stayed often went months without getting paid and are working in hospitals where there’s not enough staff or equipment or even basic necessities like paper towels and toilet paper.
Administrative Reform Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos and his deputy Pavlos Polakis announced the hirings, saying that 1,000 doctors and 1500 medical staff would be hired in this election year.
With his ruling Radical Left SYRIZA far behind in polls to the party it unseated, the major opposition New Democracy, Polakis blamed previous governments for the health care cutbacks that were continued his party, bringing it to near collapse.
Xenogiannakopoulou said that the process would adhere to the “one hiring for each departure” principle. Polakis said that there have been 18,000 hirings since October 2015 which have allowed the National Health Service to “stand on its feet,” despite constant criticism otherwise from hospital worker unions which said the government had perpetuated the crisis.