We were surprised to read in the newspaper “The Echo of Arta” on 04/30/2015 an announcement of the board of Arta Medical Association that "Social Solidarity Clinic /Pharmacy of Arta” is operating illegally, under the individual responsibility of the doctors who participate in it, who are possibly being paid for their medical service and thus create an unfair competition to the other members of the Association. " The announcement also states that "as of 28.06.2014 according to the Presidential Decree the uninsured citizens Greeks or of Greek origin, or foreigners who legally and permanently reside in Greece have access to medical care in public health facilities.”
Based on the above we would like to stress the following:
1. Solidarity Clinic of Arta is an AUTONOMOUS, SELF-ORGANISED and INDEPENDENT SOCIAL SOLIDARITY structure which offers primary health care services to the uninsured, unemployed and fellow citizens in need COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE. SSCP of Arta is not a clinic or polyclinic, where medical procedures are not being performed, thus it does not require authorization of the local Medical Association. As per the untrue allegations of the Medical Association of Arta on the involvement of doctors in SSCP as employees on payment basis or as freelancers who issue a check for their services, we expressively and unequivocally declare that all doctors involved provide their services for FREE. These services are provided in their office/clinic and they are not getting paid. After all, the law itself states that doctors are able to receive up to 5 clients a month for free. Until now of course we did not know that social solidarity is illegal action. We pity those who believe it is so!
2. All of us (health workers and many others citizens in solidarity) contributed to the creation of this collective because on a daily basis from the beginning of the crisis until today, we saw that there was a growing number of uninsured fellowmen who experienced (and still experience) the exclusion from medical assistance/ help and medication, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality of the vulnerable groups.
Our common belief is that:
• Health is the ultimate social good
• Everyone has the right to a certain standard of living which will provide the person and his/ her family with health and welfare, medical care and necessary social services. (Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25)
The creation of a shield and the cohesion of society through social solidarity networks is essential for society to be able to resist and to impose, to the best of its benefits, an alternative solution to the crisis.
We are not "the good Samaritans" as some have called us ironically. We have no intention and much more any illusion of substituting the State that withdraws from the responsibility for the health care of citizens. We continue to fight for a health system. For Public health care and care for all, without exclusions.
We have all been affected by the crisis, while most of all the healthcare system as a public social good and right was affected. Public Primary healthcare system exists; however, it is seriously understaffed with shortages in very basic categories of doctors. For the uninsured to be sent to a Hospital he/she should be a case for the ER. On the other hand, there are people with no income and therefore they cannot pay for their medicine. These are what we are trying to ensure the supply of either from our fellow citizens and/or from the subscriptions of the members of our association. These people who were driven into poverty by the crisis turned to us, and it's ridiculous to even think that the unfair competition to the members of the Medical Association of Arta is being created. Based on this one might claim that Social Grocery stores create unfair competition to the supermarkets, the Red Cross to the stores and Networks without Middlemen to the street markets etc.
The SSCP of Arta is not a nationwide innovation. It is one of the 51 structures of Social Solidarity in health sector, which have developed in various regions of Greece.
The social solidarity itself does not need to have legal status, it has no self-interest, it does not hide any kind of competitive elements. It has love and respect for the fellow man and nourishes hope for a better future, for a life with dignity.
This is what everybody and mainly the members of the Medical Association of Arta already know, since they took the Hippocrates’ oath.
We expected greater sensitivity and understanding fom the Medical Association of Arta to our selfless and completely socially necessary effort. And even if, as the the Medical Association of Arta claims, its members treat our fellow citizens in need for free, then along with our congratulations we invite them to join as volunteers to the SSCP of Arta. We are open to those who want to contribute.
Social Solidarity Clinic-Pharmacy of Arta
Signed also by:
Social Solidarity Clinic of Peristeri
Social Solidarity Clinic – Pharmacy of Athens
Metropolitan Social Clinic of Hellinikon
Social Solidarity Clinic Salaminas
Social Solidarity Clinic of Chalandri
Solidarity Pharmacy of Patisia
Solidarity Clinic of Piraeus
Social Solidarity Clinic – Pharmacy of N. Smyrni
Social Network of Doctors and Pharmacist of Ilion
Selfmanaged Social Clinic and Pharmacy of N. Philadelfia and N. Chalkidona
Social Network of Doctors of Zografou
Association of Cancer-patients KEFI
Network of Solidarity Doctors of Kifisia
Social Clinic of Fyli
Social Solidarity Clinic of Rethymnon
Social Clinic – Pharmacy of Katerini “Alekos Ftikas”
People’s Assembly - Solidarity Clinic of Ag. Nektarios, Volos
Solidarity Pharmacy of Mytilini “Iliaktida”
Social Solidarity Clinic of Preveza
Social Solidarity Clinic of Thessaloniki
Social Solidarity Clinic – Pharmacy of Drama
Social Solidarity Clinic – Pharmacy of Kilkis
Social Solidarity Clinic “KIALLI” of Thermi
Social Solidarity Clinic – Pharmacy of Chania
Social Clinic – Pharmacy of Larisa “Topos Allileggyis”
Social Solidarity Clinic of Patras
Social Solidarity Clinic of Corinth
Social Clinic – Pharmacy of Nafpaktos “Oloi Mazi”
Social Solidarity Clinic of Kalamata
Social Solidarity Network of Heraklion
Social Clinic – Pharmacy of Heraklion