The tragic incidents of the last few days with three women losing their lives due to a lack of staff in ambulances and health structures highlight in the most emphatic way the dramatic situation in which the NHS has fallen and shift the agenda of the parties’ pre-election campaign.
The public health system has entered the center of the pre-election debate, while the climate was dynamized by the insensitive statements of New Democracy parliamentary candidate, Spyros Pneumatikos, regarding the screening of cancer patients. In this context, the parties present their positions on the next day’s NHS, which passes through their financial programs.
At the same time, the opinion polls have no particular surprises with the difference between ND and SYRIZA consolidating, while the greatest interest is in whether the first party will manage to be self-sufficient at a time when it seems, based on the data so far, that the next parliament will host seven-parties.
NHS on the front line
New Democracy in all tones declares that its priority is to strengthen the National Health System, presenting mainly its plan for the next four years, trying to avoid the debate about seeking responsibility regarding the tragic events of the last few days, as executives emphasize that the problems in the NHS are timeless.
In this context, Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the anti-cancer hospital of Agios Savvas yesterday, setting as a central political priority the strengthening of the NHS with recruitment and upgrading of services, although he received a “heated” reception with slogans from the workers’ association.
In New Democracy they also have to deal with the “thorn” of Pneumatikos, whose statements provoked a fierce reaction from the opposition, which accuses the erstwhile governing party of having a hidden agenda for the NHS that will bring privatization of hospitals.
The candidate for Evia after the uproar was quick to apologize – reportedly after intervention by the party as well – but the backlash has not subsided with SYRIZA calling for his expulsion, with Alexis Tsipras using the example of his party’s candidate Katrougalos emphasizing the difference in the two handlings.
In the tour of Kyriakos Mitsotakis in North Evia, according to information, Mr. Pneumatikos will be present as well as all the candidate MPs of the Region and it remains to be seen if the party president will choose relevant reports or if he will limit himself to the central messages of his party’s pre-election campaign.
SYRIZA’s extraordinary press conference
The strengthening of the National Health System has emerged as the main issue on the agenda of the opposition parties in recent days. Alexis Tsipras was in Laiko yesterday and talked about “third-world images” of hospitals, about the discrediting of the NHS by Ne2w Democracy while he made sure to underline that “during the difficult days of the memoranda when SYRIZA was in government” the situation was better.
Moreover, SYRIZA had promoted the strengthening of the National Health Service as one of the steps for “a better life” which is her central political project, noting however in all tones that the resources that will be directed to the public health system are included in her costed proposals.
Today, in fact, Alexis Tsipras is proceeding to an extraordinary interview in Zappeio Hall where he will elaborate on his economic program.
Nikos Androulakis, for his part, criticizes the government for abandoning and underfunding the hospitals while proposing that there be a “redirection of the resources of the Recovery Fund to regenerate the NHS”.
He specifically suggested:
Upgraded framework for primary health care
Primary care centers throughout Greece
Wages on average in the European Union
Permanent staff in hospitals and inclusion of all in the heavy and unhealthy.
Communist Party: The workers develop innovations in Health that the people do not enjoy
Sec. Gen. of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoubas from his tour at Pfizer emphasized, speaking to the company’s employees, that “while you here are creating miracles, innovative tools and services, health benefits for employees and their families are deteriorating.”
As he noted, there are also shortages of medicines, “parents are looking to find medicines for their children and at the same time too many doctors are missing, nurses are missing from the public health system under the responsibility of the governments over time, which did not solve these issues”, while he did special reference to the people who have been lost in the last few days due to the lack of staff and ambulances of the EKAB.
Mr. Koutsoubas requested reinforcement of his party by voters, highlighting the need for a real opposition to New Democracy.
The strategy of the last days
In the 16 days until the election the parties also read the opinion polls and set their targets. New Democracy insists on asking the citizens to go to the polls and not consider their vote to be relaxed, stressing in all tones that if self-reliance is not achieved, we will go to a third election.
For SYRIZA, the bet is to increase its percentages by reducing the gap from the ND and in this context, the references of Alexis Tsipras to Nikos Androulakis and the memo history of PASOK are not accidental. In an interview with SKAI channel, he said characteristically that the opposition Androulakis is convenient for Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
In PASOK, they are trying to maintain their percentages and if possible raise them, insisting on harsh criticism against New Democracy, closing any room for cooperation and claiming the stigma of the main center-left pole.
Likewise, in the KKE, the goal is to stabilize the good percentage they achieved in the May 21 elections and, if possible, to increase it. In this direction, Mr. Koutsoumba’s statements about SYRIZA, which PASOK retold with the discussion on progressive governance, and the “reminder” for PASOK of the memoranda, riot police use, the anti-popular laws that “our people rightly spat upon».