ATHENS – A new building including 15 operating rooms at the Evangelismos Hospital, donated by the National Bank, was inaugurated by Health Minister Makis Voridis on Sept. 16.
That came as the government has cut back drastically on health care spending to meet the orders of international lenders, leaving many hospitals without critical or even basic needs, such as soap and toilet paper.
The new facilities include two orthopaedic operating rooms and two of the largest cardiological operating rooms in Greece, with state-of-the-art technology.
There are also two neurological facilities large enough to hold magnetic tomographers, and a hybrid operating room that can be directly converted to handle a switch in surgical procedures.
Several other facilities are included, for sterilizing equipment and laboratories.
A delegation of hospital staff told Voridis that the facilities could not operate with short-term staff,however, which means they might go little used.
The union representing Evangelismos Hospital workers claims that the 12 operating theaters currently on operation are understaffed and require at least 30 new personnel in order to function at full capacity.
They say the shortage means that staff members are required to work double shifts and are unable to take their full leave of absence.
Management has responded to these concerns by announcing the hiring 22 nurses on seven-month contracts and pledging to appoint another 20 members of staff transferred from other facilities, Kathimerini said.
Both administrative staff and doctors condemned the presence of riot police outside the new surgery building, there to prevent protests against Voridis.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was supposed to have been present but sent Voridis instead. The new surgery wing will consist of 22 state-of-the-art operating theaters, with 14 currently completed and ready to be put into operation. It will also house intensive care units for cardiology and neurology patients as well as other facilities.
The National Bank donated 30 million euros toward the revamp of one of Athens’s main hospitals, located in the central Kolonaki district, with construction expected to be completed within the next two years.