Greek PM Alexis Tsipras received a hostile welcome by dozens of health care employees as he arrived at the Ministry of Health on Friday morning.
Trade Unionists of POEDIN (Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees) expressed their dismay at the cuts imposed on public health and demanded to meet the Prime Minister.
Police blocked them inside their own headquarters in a building opposite the Health Ministry during the PM’s visit, where they unveiled banners and shouted anti-austerity slogans.
In a press conference at the ministry, Mr. Tsipras said that the government plans to open 239 local healthcare clinics throughout the country by the end of 2017.
He also vowed to support the health sector by creating more than 3,000 jobs for doctors and other healthcare personnel.
Tsipras said the situation in public healthcare was “critical” and “on the verge of collapse” when he took power in 2015, noting that this destruction was “conscious and intentional,” based on the ideological view that the public character of healthcare is outdated, so as to open the way for private interests to take over the sector.