The government plans to open 239 local healthcare clinics throughout the country by the end of 2017 and support the health sector with new hirings, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, after a visit to the ministry of Health.

?Our immediate aim is to set up 239 local health clinics in 80 different regions of the country by the end of 2017,? he said, adding the selection of the regions was based on the area’s healthcare needs, access to healthcare services and the economic and social position of the local population.

To staff these services, the ministry will announce in the immediate future more than 3,000 jobs for doctors and other healthcare personnel.

Rebuilding healthcare will be ?a titanic struggle amid very difficult circumstances? adding that despite recent positive results, ?it is not possible to fully transform the image of public hospitals.?

Tsipras said the situation in public healthcare was ?critical? and ?on the verge of collapse? when he took power in 2015, noting that this destruction was ?conscious and intentional?, based on the ideological view that the public character of healthcare is outdated, so as to open the way for private interests to take over the sector.

He continued to say that the health sector was rife with waste and corruption even before the crisis. ?[It was] an endless looting of public interest of an outrageous scale. The first victims were the insurance funds and the state budget,? he said, adding that despite the drastic cuts imposed on the sector with the adjustment programs, the mismanagement continued until January 2015.

He said the aim of the cuts made between 2010 and 2014 was not to address the opaqueness and corruption, but the level of services offered to people.