Pros and cons of the Greek healthcare system



Pros and cons of the Greek healthcare system

It is believed that Greece is the homeland of the first doctors: back in 700 BC on the territory of Hellas the first medical school appeared. The unique climate, as well as local berries and herbs, were used to treat various diseases. Since then, knowledge of natural medicine has been passed down from generation to generation.

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Medicine in Greece: pros and cons

The economic crisis and the mentality of the country have had a huge impact on the course of the medical sphere. And its development is among the major ones in the state. These aspects shape the main pros and cons of Greek medicine.


  • sufficient level of technological support: almost all clinics can boast of having ultrasound and MRI equipment;
  • relatively high qualification of doctors: the government recruits young and talented professionals, holds summits, and strives for knowledge exchange;
  • almost complete absence of a language barrier: most of the staff is fluent in English (and in some cases – in French, Italian, and German);
  • high qualification of pharmacists: most of them can give a complete consultation and choose the right meds;
  • visiting a narrow-profile specialist (if the patient is sure that he/she needs it), does not require a referral from a therapist;
  • relatively inexpensive dentistry: the Greeks are not very fond of visiting doctors, especially dentists. Thus there is no state dentistry in Greece. And most private dental clinics are forced to reduce the cost of services to attract more customers.


  • difficulty in making an appointment and long queues: due to an acute lack of doctors, you will have to arrange a visit with a therapist 2 weeks before the appointment, and in emergency cases, you will have to come on a first-come, first-served basis, where the waiting time can take 3-4 hours. In the case of narrow specialists, an appointment should usually be made a couple of months before the actual visit;
  • low level of sanitary and hygienic standards in clinics: cleaning in common spaces can be done a couple of times per week, and few people will be surprised by the dust all over the place. Doctors allow themselves to smoke right in the office between appointments. Also general and maternity hospitals allow to come into the wards in outerwear and without shoe covers, while visiting hours are not limited;
  • “Ambulance” is available only in critical emergency cases: usually assistance of the first aid brigade is possible due to disasters and accidents only. Therefore, most often the patient will be asked to get to the nearest hospital on his or her own. A private ambulance will answer calls, but the cost of its services can vary between 500-800 euros, which equals one month's average salary;
  • price-quality ratio: medicine in Greece is significantly lower than in other European countries, but in terms of cost it surpasses France and Italy.