On Thursday, 29 November 2018, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, accompanied by the Chief of Hellenic Army General Staff, Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, and the Deputy Chief of Hellenic Army General Staff, Lieutenant General Nikolaos Manouris, visited the 401st Army General Hospital of Athens.
During his visit, the Alternate Minister of National Defence was given a tour of the hospital facilities, briefed on its mission, operation and daily challenges, and congratulated the personnel for his good work.
He addressed the personnel and pointed out the Hospital’s long-standing history, stressing that it is the biggest Army Hospital and one of the biggest and most modern in the country. He made special reference to the social contribution of the 401st Army General Hospital of Athens, since it provides healthcare to both a large number of entitled citizens and other population groups, like the residents of remote islands, etc.
He pointed out that "health, being a public good, is of fundamental importance for the happiness, fulfilment, and dignity of each person. The health of the Armed Forces’ members and of their families is one of the priority fields that the political leadership of the Ministry of National Defence deals with.
It is needless to say that the 401st Army General Hospital of Athens plays a key role in the provision of specialised healthcare services to Armed Forces personnel, retired personnel and their family members, the Hellenic Police, as well as society in general".
He also stated: "Our fixed goal is the continuous improvement of the healthcare provided by the Army Hospitals and the Armed Forces Medical personnel in general. All Army Hospitals upgrade their infrastructure and equipment and they can provide reliable and effective care to those in need.
In the course of this constant upgrading of the provided healthcare services with regard to the 401st Army General Hospital of Athens, there have been many and important infrastructure projects, like the renovations of many clinics, the construction of guesthouses for the patients’ relatives and other projects, which, on one hand, ensure the safe and comfortable hospitalisation, and on the other hand, improve the working environment with regard to personnel.
Regarding the equipment, after the signing of the Program Contract between the Ministry of National Defence and the Attica Region, the procedure for the procurement of medical equipment is under way. The same applies for the procurement procedure of 2 linear accelerators, through the donation by Stavros Niarchos Foundation".
Regarding the personnel, he stated:
"What makes the buildings and the machinery useful and operational is the specialised and perfectly trained personnel: the doctors, nurses and the rest medical personnel, who treat the Hospital’s patients with sensitivity, dignity, and reliability, often exceeding their limits. Still, they do not find this enough, and through actions of social contribution and outreach, they show the human face of the Armed Forces and develop close relations with society.
We try to reinforce the personnel, always in the context of the existing fiscal limitations. Thus, after renewing the contracts of the assistant medical personnel who were hired last year, the procedure for the hiring of assistant personnel and assistant doctors is under way, as we speak, regarding Army Hospitals, for the year 2019.
So, I presume that the 401st Army General Hospital, despite its problems, undergoes a phase of not just stability, but of service upgrade and improvement acceleration as well, regarding the healthcare to the beneficiaries. It provides innovative, anthropocentric care, quality, training and research.
It constantly evolves, and this was apparent in the "challenges" section of the briefing. The cooperation of the Hellenic Army General Staff and the Hospital with the National Blood Donation Centre, regarding wartime blood supplies through the use of technology with regard to frozen red blood cells is such an example, which is worth mentioning.
The same applies to the use of Barcode regarding material distribution, which everyone is familiar with, already used in the Pharmaceutical Laboratories of the 441st Base Medical Supplies Depot.
But we do not stay there. We work for the further upgrade of the said laboratories, by constructing a new building, in which intravenous/ intramuscular products will be produced, to meet the needs of the Army Hospitals.
With the upcoming signing of the Special Program Contract, we have already paved the way regarding the cooperation with the Attica Region, for the funding of the study of this project".
He also pointed out:
"This project can be assured through the support and the continuation of innovative actions, and the rationalisation of expenditure and the procurement system as well, the right use of available resources, economics of scale and. in any case, the lifelong and constant training of the personnel.
All the above require and can be achieved only through transparency, discussion, and respect, and they aim at providing reliable healthcare, with outstanding results.
As I have already stated, we are committed to support every effort for the better operation of the 401st Army General Hospital of Athens, as well as of all Army Hospitals and the Armed Forces Medical Corps in general".