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Lipsi left with no medical cover

- by John Pardo

Lipsi island left with no medical cover.

Health sector cuts could leave local residents and holiday visitors to Lipsi without proper medical cover, island officials have warned. Councillors on the island are outraged at island doctors being sent to work elsewhere, medical equipment going to rust because of the lack of staff to operate it and the doors of the medical clinic locked closed because of staffing shortages.

They claim the island's only resident doctor was recently posted to the hospital on neighbouring Leros so that Lipsi was left without a resident qualified medic.

A shortage of medical supplies is endangering the lives of patients on Lipsi and the lack of medical cover means Lipsi residents must make expensive ferry trips to other islands to get proper treatment, councillors warn.

It is claimed that simple medicines such as aspirin, antibiotics or painkillers are not available on Lipsi and patients must sometimes travel as far away as Athens to get their medications,

Councillors were told: "Another serious problem is the lack of sufficient human resources, medical, nursing and paramedical, needed to meet the health needs of the population."

Now they have called on the government to station a doctor on the Lipsi permanently and to ensure the medical centre has full-time staff. They also want the state to fund proper medical supplies and provide regular visits from specialist such as dentists and gynaecologists.

In a statement they said: "We, the residents of Lipsi, facing all these problems refuse to let our lives be left to chance. We condemn the political degradation and com modification of health services and call in constant struggle and effort to change this unacceptable situation in health that endangers our very existence."