Surgery delayed, surgery denied in Greek hospitals because of COVID-19

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ATHENS — The lingering COVID-19 pandemic which will enter its third year in March has put such pressure on Greek public hospitals that some surgeries will be delayed until the end of 2022.

Hospital officials told Kathimerini that even if the pandemic ends now, pent-up demand for delayed elective surgeries means many will not be performed for at least 3-6 months.

The waiting time for heart surgeries at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, the capital’s main public health facility, is 8-10 months as most staff have been transferred to deal with overwhelming numbers of COVID cases, just like those in other hospitals. aside only for the Coronavirus.

“A huge effort is being made to help along with regular surgeries through partnerships with the private sector,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris told the newspaper, adding that doctors in the national health system have been given the opportunity to perform postponed surgeries in private clinics. ‘t been widely recruited to help fight the ongoing pandemic.

Health Ministry projections indicate that about 97,000 fewer surgeries were performed in the first half of 2021 than would have been performed had there not been a pandemic, the newspaper also said.

“The trends we observed in 2020, with a decrease in admissions, surgeries and visits to outpatient clinics, compared to pre-pandemic levels, were repeated in the first half of 2021,” said Ilias Kondylis, associate professor at the Primary Health Care Laboratory of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He added that in 2020, around 25% fewer surgeries were performed – around 120,000 – compared to the 2017-2019 three-year average.

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