Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Austerity in Europe

“Troika” mandated austerity and the emerging healthcare crisis in Greece: an open letter to the Greek government

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 30 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2807
  1. Thomais Kakouli, lecturer in biosciences1
  2. and co-signatories
  1. 1Department of Science and Health, Institute of Technology Carlow, Carlow, Ireland

Thomais Kakouli and more than 100 co-signatories of Greek scholars and physicians write to express their concern regarding the current dire state of healthcare services in Greece

To the prime minister of Greece and president of New Democracy Party, Antonis Samaras; the president of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos; the president of the Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis; the minister of health, Andreas Lykouretzos.

Our country has fallen into a dismal state, and it is constantly challenged by extrinsic and intrinsic pressures, while the economic and social climate deteriorates further day by day. The Greek government, in total obedience to the irrational demands of the “Troika,” focuses on the obligations of the citizens towards the state and seems to forget or ignore its own obligations towards its citizens. The government has imposed a brutal and self defeating fiscal austerity: in a confiscatory manner, it tries to collect extra revenue from an already impoverished and afflicted populace, while it neglects its main role, as specified by the constitution—the protection of the rights and the welfare of the citizen body.

In three short years, governments comprised of the current coalition parties have managed to reduce the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 25%, leading Greece to the deepest and longest lasting economic depression in the history of the modern Western world. During the same period, the public debt expanded from 109% of GDP to 170% of GDP, unemployment rose from 8% to 27%, and youth unemployment now holds the world record at 58%. Incomes have been reduced by more than 40%, leading to a record number of families and individuals living below the poverty line. It is worth noting that the famous “haircut” (PSI), presented by the government as a notable achievement, ultimately increased the public debt while raiding the reserves of pension funds, reserves …

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