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Politics

In Hospital Visit, Mitsotakis Opens 30-Bed ICU Unit Donated by SNF

ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on Thursday during his visit to KAT General Hospital, called upon the health professionals who have not yet been vaccinated to reconsider their decision.

Mitsotakis visited the hospital to see the new ICU beds donated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

"I want to reiterate how important it is for health professionals to be the first to set the example of vaccination. We know beyond any doubt that the vaccines approved are safe and effective. Effectively in terms of drastically reducing the chance of getting sick and in terms of the severity of the disease in the unlikely event that someone who has been vaccinated gets sick," the Prime Minister said.

Mitsotakis stressed that the goal set from the beginning – and this is also his personal commitment – is that Greece will reach the European average in intensive care beds as a percentage of the population.

He also said that the pandemic is a first-class opportunity to do what had not done for many years. "To strengthen the national health system, to transform it into a new one, in terms of infrastructure and people, to hire more staff, to reward and better train the existing staff and to make every Greek citizen feel safe when it comes to his health," he stressed.

The new space at KAT Hospital, which can accommodate 30 ICU beds, was created as part of SNF’s grant to add capacity of 175 ICU and High-Dependency Unit (HDU) beds at 15 hospitals across Greece. The new beds are expected to serve more than 6,500 patients each year. Delivery of the new ICU spaces began in December 2020 and the grant is expected to be mostly complete by the end of February 2021.

The $18 million grant also includes a five-year educational program for doctors and nurses who work in ICUs.

During his visit, Mr. Dracopoulos remarked, “Health is a fundamental for everyone. The pandemic that the whole planet has experienced over last year and, unfortunately, continues to experience today, reminded us of this in the harshest way possible. Building on partnership between the private and public sectors, we are here to help support the preparedness of the National Healthcare System as best we can—whether through our grant for renovations at 15 hospitals to add capacity for 175 ICU and HDU beds, or through our Health Initiative, exceeding $400 million, for infrastructure and education projects to enhance the health sector in Greece. Because while health is not a given for anyone, access to health care should be a given for everyone.”

In addition to the new space at KAT, SNF has already delivered renovated ICU spaces to Paidon Agia Sofia, Attikon hospital, Agios Dimitrios in Thessaloniki, Ippokrateio Hospital of Athens, Tzaneio, Vostanio Hospital in Lesvos, Venizelio Hospital in Heraklion, Agios Georgios in Chania, the General Hospital in Lamia, and Gennimatas General Hospital of Thessaloniki. These renovated facilities will hold a total of 82 new ICU and HDU beds. By the end of February 2021, the majority of the remaining bed capacity will be delivered at Korgialenio-Benakio Ippokrateio General Hospital of Thessaloniki, the University Hospital of Heraklion, and Evangelismos hospital.

In May 2020, a $8.6 million grant for procurement of equipment at Evangelismos—including 850 beds, 53 of which are destined for ICUs, HDUs, and the Heart Attack Unit—was completed as part of SNF’s Health Initiative. The grant contributed to upgrades in the services of more than 10 departments, including the Emergency Room, the Artificial Kidney Unit, and the operating rooms.

As part of its grant for the renovation of ICU and HDU facilities, SNF is coordinating with the Greek state, which is responsible for the procurement and installation of equipment as well as for staffing the units, completion of which is necessary for the new facilities to begin operating. As demonstrated by SNF’s Health Initiative, the largest ongoing grant initiative in Greece, collaboration between the private and public sectors can bring significant benefits to society, leading to timely and transparent results. Hill International provided pro bono support for project management and the relevant team’s contribution was significant.

The grant for the renovation of ICU and HDU spaces is part of SNF’s $100 million global relief initiative to help address the impacts of the pandemic. To date, SNF has allocated 176 grants totaling $89.5 million through the initiative, including more than $35.3 million in Greece. These grants aim to help strengthen the country’s health care infrastructure and combat the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, both in the short and the long term.

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