Elderly psychiatric patients targeted in Merkel’s Greece

This video from Greece says about itself:

16 July 2008

Leros Psychiatric Hospital – Kρατικό Θεραπευτήριο Λέρου

Leros “Psychiatric Hospital”. Filmed in 1995 by achilleasv.

The Asylum of Leros (Colony of Mentally Ill) was established in 1959, taking over the military installations left on the Greek island by the Italians from the Second World War.

The purpose was to contain all psychiatric patients from all Greek mental health instituitions, who were deemed untreatable, to one single confinement space.

The asylum grew rapidly as “difficult” patients were shipped to Leros and by the 1980s as many as 4,000 patients were held there.

Political prisoners had also been incarcerated there, during the military dictatorship in Greece (Greek junta 1967-1974).

The staff were not doctors or nurses and had no medical training.

They were local islanders and were used as guards.

The inmates were systematically beaten, even tortured and crushed of whatever sensibilities they once had.

In the 80s Leros’ asylum has received significant journalistic attention.

In September of 1989, the London Observer published details of horrific conditions at the Leros asylum, describing it a “concentration camp”.

In 1990 the BBC filmed inside the asylum. The documentary “Island of Outcasts” (Channel 4) brought attention to these horrendous human rights abuses.

As Leros’ conditions generally mirror those of the nation’s other public mental hospitals, the last twenty years the psychiatric care system in Greece is undergoing a transformation of its service network, propelled to a great extent by recommendations and funding from the European Union. The new direction is toward deinstitutionalisation and a community-care approach.

However, twenty years since the beginning of the psychiatric reform in Greece, there is a threat for people with mental health problems to return in mental hospitals due to severe financial problems of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Units as the Greek Ministry of Health is unable to correspond to its obligations.

From Keep Talking Greece blog:

14 July 2012

tagged: Greek health ministry, mental health patients rights, pensions cuts, psychiatric patients, psychiatry, scandal

Greek Health Ministry to Deliberately Cut Pensions of Patients at Psychiatric Clinics

Posted by keeptalkinggreece in Economy, Society

I can’t believe what I am reading here. And this I can tell you right away: It is one of the most horrible nightmares, when a state exploits those who cannot defend themselves and deliberately proceeds to actions that should be illegal in any democratic country.

Money-broke Greek Health Ministry is about to cut pensions of patients of psychiatric clinics and use the ‘saved’ money to bolster operating costs. The plan foresees the reduction of patient’s pensions on a sliding scale, with pension of 500 euros to be cut 50%, pensions of 700 euros by 70% and pensions of over 700 euro to be trimmed down by 80%.

Clinics personnel oppose the ministry’s plans saying that they’re asked to turn into revenue collectors as they will have to get the consent of these patients so that the sick health ministry puts its long arm into the income of such patients.

Open is the question what consent patients with heavy psychiatric illnesses will or could give or who will protect their rights.

Nurses’ ire over patient pensions

A state plan to reduce the pensions of patients of psychiatric clinics and use the money to bolster operating costs, which was reportedly prepared by the Health Ministry last year but is yet to be enforced, has triggered protests by employees at the units who claim they are being obliged to collaborate in securing the patients’ consensus for the cuts.

The plan foresees the reduction of patients’ pensions on a sliding scale, Kathimerini understands, with pensions of 500 euros to be cut 50 percent, pensions of 700 euros by 70 percent and pensions over 700 euros per month to be slashed by 80 percent.

It remains unclear whether the plan is in fact legal. “It goes against Article 21 of the Constitution, on the protection of health,” Vassilis Papadopoulos, a lawyer familiar with the matter, told Kathimerini. “It violates the principle of equality and proportionality as it withholds money on a graded scale as is the case with the tax offices,” he said, adding that the changes also ignored the “nursing needs of different individuals.”

As the pension holder’s consensus is required before the amount can be withheld, workers at the clinic claim they are being put in a difficult, and unethical, position. “We are people whom the patients look to and trust,” said Panos Papadopoulos of the union representing staff at psychiatric clinics. “Now we’re being asked to become revenue collectors,” he said. (Kathimerini)

Kathimerini is a conservative daily, usually supportive of New Democracy, the Rightist biggest party in the new Greek coalition government.

Keep Talking Greece blog continues:

It is not clear from the article whether the plan to forcefully ‘deprive’ psychiatric patients from their rights and income has to be voted and approved by the Greek Parliament as a bill. Of course, it would need the cooperation of insurance funds as well as from other ministries like Labour (for pensions) and Finance (income tax declaration).

PS where is this PASOK health minister, who prepared such a plan? He probably sits at the back seats of the parliament, an average MP among others…

1 thought on “Elderly psychiatric patients targeted in Merkel’s Greece

  1. Pingback: Greek trade unions defy Merkel march ban | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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