The entire city came out into the streets to protest against the deterioration of the hospital. People participated in the mobilization and expressed their determination to defend and Save Sitia Hospital.

The streets of Sitia were inundated with demonstrators who gathered to protest the degradation of their local hospital. Some of the slogans shouted by the protesters during the closure of the Sitia-Agios Nikolaos highway on the afternoon of Monday, September 18, as part of the mobilization organized by the coordinating committee for Sitia Hospital, with the participation of the entire local community, included “Hands off our hospitals, free health is our right” and “Hospitals were paid for by the people, we won’t bargain for anyone’s sake.”

As reported by Cretalive, the road closure began at 5 pm and lasted for about an hour. Participants, both pedestrians and vehicles, formed a long march, traversing the entire road through the city, chanting slogans and holding banners. The march culminated at the fountain area, where a large protest rally for Sitia Hospital commenced.

It is completely understandable that a hospital is a dynamic entity subject to change, influenced by bureaucracy, human factors, and other unpredictable elements that often affect its operations.

However, at this stage, Sitia Hospital is not merely experiencing occasional problems; its condition is dire. Critical departments such as Pathology, Pediatrics, and Radiology have either one or no doctors at all, and the rest of its clinics also suffer from significant deficiencies and issues.

We believe that the situation at our hospital is reflective of the overall poor state of the National Health Service (NHS). Moreover, it appears to be a target for degradation and transformation into a Health Center, as indicated by government planning under the new Hospital Charter announced by the Prime Minister. These intentions have been evident in statements made by government representatives and administrative figures. Fresh in our memory are the statements of former Health Minister Mr. Plevris and the administrator of the interconnected Hospitals, Andreadakis, which sparked significant reactions in our region.

The Municipality of Sitia boasts significant infrastructure, including an airport, which is the largest development project in eastern Crete, a port, ELMEPA department, Global Geopark, archaeological sites, and endless beautiful natural landscapes. Therefore, the potential for further development is substantial. However, this development cannot be realized without adequate healthcare facilities.

It’s worth noting that the current population of our Municipality exceeds 20,000, according to the latest census, and it swells during the summer months. Sitia is the largest municipality in Crete, encompassing many mountainous and remote villages, and it serves the neighboring islands of Kasos and Karpathos. Simultaneously, it faces challenges related to a damaged national and provincial network, leaving it practically isolated.

Given all of the above, it is impossible for us to accept any plan aimed at degrading our Hospital. We demand the following:

Immediate announcement and filling of all vacant positions for doctors and nursing staff, as outlined in the Hospital’s Organizational Chart.

Provision of attractive incentives to attract personnel to these positions, including competitive salaries, housing allowances, a review of the barren and problem area allowances (as per the 1981 gazette), and educational incentives. This can be achieved through collaboration with the Region of Crete and the Municipality of Sitia.

Reinstatement of the Hospital’s self-administration. We remind you that your government, while in opposition, opposed the consolidation of the prefecture’s hospitals.

We declare that if there is no immediate assurance that our demands will be met, the mobilizations that began on Monday, September 18, 2023, involving the Municipality of Sitia, all its agencies, associations, and productive groups in our region, will be renewed with even greater intensity and determination.


Translated by

Photos Tony Kavalieros acting on behalf of