Anesthesiologists at the Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital in Athens will halt work from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Wednesday as announced by the Union of Hospital Doctors of Athens and Piraeus. The protest demands the filling of vacant anesthesiology positions and highlights the need to prevent illegal overwork and excessive on-call duties to safeguard patients and staff.

The work stoppage by anesthesiologists has once again highlighted the severe staffing shortages at Greece’s two largest pediatric hospitals, Agia Sofia and Aglaia Kyriakou. These facilities are grappling with critical deficiencies in anesthesiologists, surgical nursing staff, and ICU personnel.

Under the weight of these shortages, the surgical teams at both hospitals have been compelled to take drastic action. The surgery waiting list includes 2,000 children, some of whom have been waiting for over four months.

In an interview on Mega TV last Friday, a doctor at one of the hospitals, highlighted the situation. “The children cannot undergo surgery because out of the 10 operating rooms available at Agia Sofia, only three or at most four, are in use daily. Due to significant shortages in anesthesiologists and nurses, more than 50% of the operating rooms remain closed,” he explained.

Adding to the mounting pressure, the doctors’ union has announced a work stoppage for all hospital doctors on Monday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. A protest is scheduled for 11 a.m. that day at the gates of the pediatric hospitals, aiming to draw attention to the urgent need for more medical staff.