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Doctor shortage on Greek Islands

- by Archimedes

Doctor shortage on Greek Islands.

Doctors are to get bonuses and other incentives in a bid to get more to work away from mainland hospitals and move to the Greek islands. Concern has grown at the gap that has grown in healthcare provision on mainland Greece and in the offshore islands. Now doctors will get 10% bonus on top of the basic wage if they agree to spend at least three months working in the Greek islands. Their time in residence will also count double.

Regional Health Director Christina Papanicolaou said that in the summer the normal number of 150,000 residents on the islands quickly swells to more than one million because of tourism.

'It is unacceptable that there are 70,000 doctors in the country and nobody wants to work in the islands of Greece," she said.

Shortages on some island have now reached critical levels. On Syros, only half the posts on the island are filled; the health centre in Paros has only one microbiologist while Patmos with 2,500 residents has only a single physician and it is the same situation on Ios.

Efforts to fill the gaps have been ignored. In the second half of 2010, 50 advertised positions in the islands remain unfilled.

In Kos the hospital paediatric clinic lost its only paediatrician when he was recruited to the hospital in Corfu. In Ikaria, the 10,000 residents at Evdilos are served by a single doctor at the health centre.

According to latest figures there are 6,500 vacant medical positions and a campaign to recruit 2,000 doctors has failed. Many regional hospitals and health centres in the Greek islandsare short of critical specialities such as Pediatrics, Cardiology, Orthopedics, Anesthesiology, Surgery, Pathology, Radiology, Microbiology, Obstetrics – Gynecology and Ophthalmology .