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Halt the closure of the polyclinics in Greece immediately!

By deciding to close down with immediate effect all 350 polyclinics and sack 8500 state-employed doctors and nurses, Greek Health Minister Georgiadis is risking the complete collapse of primary health care in Greece.

The closure of the clinics was a tactical move by the government in reaction to the strike which doctors have been staging for three months in protest at increasingly inadequate provision and the threat of redundancies. In addition, Georgiadis wants to ban the doctors from running private practices alongside their work in state-run practices. Once the polyclinics have been destroyed, they are to be replaced by smaller 'regional health centres', which will provide a far lower level of primary health care. Doctors who had previously worked in state facilities can apply to be re-employed. The minister is not steering a clear course: he is promising that the health facilities will reopen in one month, but only for a six-month 'probationary period'!

These measures are driving the privatisation of the health system!

The health system in Greece has already been brought to its knees by the cuts resulting from the austerity course dictated by the troika. Unemployment is creating a massive shortfall in contributions paid into the state health insurance system, which is more or less bankrupt (2 billion euros of debt). Co-payments and fees have been raised. Accident and emergency units take turns in opening. Patients are being discharged "still bleeding" and having to be nursed by their families. The budget for medicines has been slashed from 4.4 billion to 2 billion euros. Hundreds of thousands of people in Greece are no longer insured.

In the past, these polyclinics were the only place where those lacking insurance could receive primary outpatient care.

We call on you, the Members of the German Bundestag and the Members of the European Parliament, to condemn the Greek government's closure of the polyclinics and demand that it reverses this measure immediately.

Health is a human right. Everybody must have free access to the health system.

The public health-care system in Greece must not be further dismantled, but must be strengthened through financial assistance.

Call on the German Federal Government and European Commission to finally abandon their disastrous policy of cuts in Greece, which is having these impacts!

Call on the German Federal Government and the European Commission to decide on assistance for the Greek health-care system and demand the immediate reopening of the polyclinics!