Austerity: Public Hospital halts chemotherapy, turns away cancer patients because “budget exceeded”

March 24, 2017

The public hospital in Volos has reportedly stopped providing chemotherapy to cancer patients and sends them away because the monthly budget has been exceeded. Public Hospital workers unions denounce and media report that the oncology unit stopped the chemotherapy treatment since last Monday and by order of the hospital commander. It is claimed that the order came form the Health Ministry.

“The budget for chemotherapy treatment has been used,” the Public Hospital Workers Union (POEDIN) said in a statement apparently citing the hospital commander. “The hospital commander has turned away cancer patients as of Monday, March 20th, 2-17” the union denounced.

The Chemotherapy Unit at the hospital of Volos is staffed by two doctors and five nurses. IT conducts 400 sessions per month and treats 200 patients in the average. The budget allocated for chemotherapy is 220,000 euros per month.

On March 17th, the hospital commander called the chief oncologist and announced that from now on the hospital will not accept patients in need of such therapy because the budget has been surpassed by 50 percent.

“The budget is 220,000 euros per month, we spend 280,000 euros instead,” the governor reportedly said.

Last Monday, five cancer patients were simply turned away although the Oncology Council of the hospital had diagnosed that they should immediately start receiving chemotherapy.

According to unconfirmed claims, it is the health Ministry that gave the order.

A lawmaker from major opposition party New Democracy submitted a relevant question about the issue in the Parliament. So far there has been no official reply.

Also read Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails