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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-04

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves ambitious draft law on primary healthcare

  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves ambitious draft law on primary healthcare

    Inner Cabinet approves ambitious draft law on primary healthcare

    The Inner Cabinet, chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis, on Wednesday approved an ambitious draft law on primary healthcare that introduces, inter alia, the institution of family doctor, the operation of urban health centres on a 24-hour basis, and the transfer of the IKA (national Social Insurance Foundation) and other social insurance funds' healthcare divisions to the central National Health System (ESY).

    According to health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, who presented the bill, which is co-sponsored by labour minister Panos Panayotopoulos, no IKA doctor will be dismissed. He also said that approximately a decade would be necessary for implementation of the plan, as it required 6,000 general practitioners with four years of medical studies.

    He told reporters after the Inner Cabinet meeting that the main priniciples of the bill would be put to public debate with the trade union, employer and medical associations, while a cost/benefit study of the system would also be carried out.

    Kaklamanis said the target was to have the bill passed by parliament in the first half of 2006.

    Replying to press questions, Kaklamanis said he was very satisfied because he, together with Panayotopoulos, were laying the cornerstone for primary healthcare, adding that "it is not important who cuts the ribbon" when questioned on the timetable of the venture and the prospect of his nomination as a candidate for Mayor of Athens in municipal elections slated for October this year.

    Replying to the same question, Panayotopoulos said he had confidence in the prime minister's judgement, adding that his cooperation with all his colleagues was good.

    Panayotopoulos said that the transfer of the healthcare divisions of IKA and the other social insurance funds to ESY would result in better healthcare for the Greek citizens, stressing that IKA would remain a "central pylon" for all the Greek citizens.

    The labour minister clarified that the government did not intend to "spring surprises", as an exhaustive dialogue would be carried out with all sides involved before the bill was tabled in parliament for debate and vote.

    Panayotopoulos also noted that a cost/benefit study would be conducted, in cooperation with the finance ministry, and that all the parameters would be examined.

    Asked to comment on Kaklamanis' possible candidacy for Athens Mayor, Panayotopoulos replied that if current mayor Dora Bakoyannis decided not to stand for re-election, Kaklamanis would be "the ideal solution", adding that the health minister would be a "very good mayor" who would enjoy the preference of Athenians from the entire political spectrum.


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