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Table 2 Summary of themes and subthemes

From: “You have to keep fighting”: maintaining healthcare services and professionalism on the frontline of austerity in Greece

Theme Subtheme Representative quote
Personal experience of austerity measures in providing healthcare services Increasing admissions in public hospital and decreasing resources “The number of patients coming into the hospitals has risen significantly. The people have started using public hospitals more the past few years […] they decide to come straight to A&E.” (I11)
Diminishing Access to treatment and medication “In the past people used to pay their contribution in full and on time. Now there is no access to medication, not because of increased prices for the medication – medication have had more than twenty price drops in the last two or three years according to official sources – but the patient contribution has been increasing constantly.” (I19)
Austerity and ideas of professionalism Disregarding the profession: feeling disvalued and disrespected “When someone is in the operation room and you pay them €4 per hour to save a life, it’s like you insult their work, there is no question about it. And I should better leave it at that. You just insult what they do.” (I8)
Challenges to professionalism “You cannot provide the same care that you want as a doctor and that the patient needs. […] what suffers in this situation is the conversation with the patient. You just don’t have time to discuss, to listen to the patient a bit more.” (I4)
Efforts made to maintain professionalism This means that regardless of how tired I feel, regardless of how my patient will talk to me, I have to respect them. Yes, by giving a big battle that has a personal cost, I believe that I provide my patients the best I can as a doctor. I really believe that I do my best at least as far as my job is concerned and that I haven’t allowed my standards to fall”. (I3)
Professionalism and Ethics “This is what I mean by swindles. We come up with solutions like this one with the hope to save €5, €10. Even these €5 and €10 are quite important to someone who does not have a job”. (I19)