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Greek red tape stops vital medical shipment

An Austrian man who collected thousands of Euros worth of much needed medicines from local firms in Salzburg has been battling against Greek bureaucracy in a bid to get it shipped to a hospital in Athens.

Erwin Schrümpf from Salzburg's Flachgau region said he had been shocked by the enormous poverty in Greece and in particular by the way that many people were struggling to get proper medical care.

He said: "With one in four out of work it is not a surprise, I decided to try and help by asking local pharma firms to offer items for free."

He managed to get a container full of much needed medical goods that will be sent to the Elpís hospital in Athens, the only hospital still treating patients without insurance.

He said: "It was surprisingly easy, the desire to make donations is there, but bringing the medicine where it is needed and getting he permits is surprisingly hard."

The transport has been put off several times as the Greek officials from the local control board E.O.F. constantly demanded new paperwork.

Theódoros Jánnaros is director of the Elpís hospital in Athens and said the delivery from Salzburg was urgently needed.

Schrümpf is now flying to Athens this week in a bid to try and get the paperwork settled once and for all.

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