The sense that anyone with experience with the realities of the National Health System gets, either as a patient or as a friend or relative of one, is that the operation of the infrastructure at hospitals, especially large ones, relies on the unflinching efforts and determination of employees.

Those efforts deserve even greater kudos if one takes into account, as the report in today’s Ta Nea demonstrates, that many of these employees work under highly insecure conditions.

The employees serve the National Health System under a regime of elastic labour relations, as contract workers, or as labour rented from contractors.

Though the workers deserve congratulations, the government is most blameworthy for delays in filling open positions with full-time staff.

Even worse, all the positions that have been filled were the result of calls for interest and competitions proclaimed years ago. Beyond that, the entire process has been frozen.

The consequences of this imbecility are not reflected only in the operation of the National Health System.

They are reflected also by the fact that thousands of doctors, whom Greek society has funded by financing their medical training at state universities, have been obliged to seek their fortune abroad.

It is obvious that the National Health System cannot rely exclusively on the patriotic diligence of its countless workers.

The state has a duty to staff hospitals adequately and bolster infrastructure, in a manner that ensures their unhindered operation.

The great sick man must at long last stand with dignity on his own feet.