The Greek government has announced plans for the privatization of a leading children’s hospital in its frenzy to privatize public assets and outsource services through public-private partnerships and contractors.
“Agia Sophia” Children’s Oncology Unit will become a legal entity under private law. It will acquire financial and administrative autonomy, despite the fact that it will continue to be subsidized normally by the state.
Children’s Hospital is among the most important in Greece
The hospital is one of the most important pediatric hospitals in Athens. The Oncology Unit has saved countless children from cancer and is doing important research in combating the disease.
“With the new bill of the Ministry of Health, another major step is taken to undermine the already discredited public pediatric care, and indeed in the sensitive field of childhood cancer,” SYRIZA’s ‘shadow minister Andreas Xanthos said.
“This is part of the neoliberal strategy of privatizing the best parts of the National Health Service and the cancellation of the practice of universal, equal and free health care,” he added.
Treatment of childhood cancer is being privatized
Opposition to the plan to privatize the hospital was also expressed by health officials.
“The treatment of childhood cancer is being privatized,” said Michalis Giannakos president of Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN).
Giannakos expressed POEDIN’s disagreement with the privatization of units of the “Agia Sophia” Children’s Hospital, emphasizing the insecurity created by the government for staff and parents, as “they should buy the services of the center and not be provided free of charge.”
The bill was also opposed by the Association of Parents of Children with Neoplastic Disease “The Flame”, and the representative of the workers at the “Agia Sophia” Children’s Hospital.