Pros and cons of the Greek healthcare system



Pros and cons of the Greek healthcare system

Many tourists choose to travel abroad to receive high-quality medical services. In particular, the healthcare system in Greece has modern medical technologies and is in demand. Find out more about why healthcare in Greece is the oldest in the world, its advantages and disadvantages, and the cost of medical services in Greece

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The health care system of Greece is represented by 130 specialized hospitals, 200 primary health care centers and 1,500 outpatient clinics. Both citizens and expats have access to the country's healthcare system. Medical services are financed by state insurance funds and the private sector.

A general overview of the Greek health care system, its advantages and disadvantages is further in our material.

Medicine in Greece is the best and oldest in the world

In ancient Europe, Greece was known for its healers and doctors. The country is the birthplace of the first doctors: as early as 700 BC, the first medical school appeared on the territory of Hellas. The unique climate, as well as local berries and herbs began to be used to treat various diseases. These practices later spread to the Roman Empire and even influenced Europe's transition to modern medicine.

The health care system of modern Greece is developed at the level of EU countries. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization, the country ranked 14th in the world in terms of the quality of medical care. It also ranks 27th in the global index of innovations in the field of health care. Medical tourism is quite common in Greece.

Greek healthcare is unique due to the country's geography and culture. Health care in mainland cities is very different from health care on remote islands. And many things, from the procedure of buying aspirin to the time spent in the hospital, can be a surprise for foreigners.

General overview of the health care system of Greece

The healthcare system in Greece has public and private providers.

Citizens and residents receive universal health care provided by the National Health Service (EOPYY). To do this, you need to register and get a national insurance number or AMKA. With AMKA, you can sign up for a health care program called social insurance. These schemes provide basic and supplementary health insurance. Usually, social insurance contributions are paid by the employer.

There are many private clinics, hospitals and service providers operating in Greece. These are high-tech care centers that provide first-class services to medical tourists who have a private insurance policy. Some of them are even "solidarity clinics" that currently provide free assistance to refugees and undocumented migrants.

Advantages of the Greek health care system

- Sufficient level of technological support: almost all clinics can boast of the availability of ultrasound and MRI machines.

- Sufficiently high qualification of doctors: the government attracts young and talented specialists, holds summits and strives to exchange knowledge.

- Almost complete lack of language barrier: most of the staff speak fluent English (and in some cases – French, Italian and German).

- High qualification of pharmacists in pharmacies: most can give a full consultation and choose appropriate drugs.

- A referral from a therapist is not required to visit a specialist (if the patient is sure that he is the one he needs).

- Relatively inexpensive dentistry: Greeks do not really like to visit doctors, and they especially do not like to treat their teeth. In addition, there is no state dentistry in Greece at all. Therefore, most dental clinics are forced to reduce the cost of services in order to attract more customers.

- Greeks are among the healthiest people in the world and have one of the highest life expectancies among EU countries: 79 years for men and 84 years for women.

Disadvantages of the Greek health care system

- The difficulty of making an appointment with a doctor and long queues. There are 4.9 practicing doctors per 1,000 people. Due to the acute shortage of specialists, you will have to make an appointment with the therapist 2 weeks before the appointment, and in emergency cases - come on a first-come, first-served basis, where the wait can last 3-4 hours. In the case of narrowly specialized specialists, an appointment can be made after several months.

- Low level of sanitary and hygienic standards in clinics: cleaning in common areas can be done several times a week, and dust will not surprise anyone. Doctors allow themselves to smoke in the office between patient appointments. In addition, in hospitals and maternity homes, visitors are admitted to the ward in outerwear and without shoes, and visiting hours are not limited.

- "Ambulance" only in emergency cases: usually the departure of the brigade is possible only to the places of disasters and accidents. In most cases, the patient is asked to get to the nearest hospital on his own. A private "ambulance" will come to any call, but the cost of such services varies between 500-800 euros.

- Price-quality ratio: medicine in Greece is significantly inferior to other European countries, but in terms of the cost of services, it exceeds France and Italy.

- There are only 3.8 nurses per 1,000 people, which is significantly lower than the average in EU countries (8.6).

What is the cost of medical services in Greece?

Approximate cost of medical services in private clinics in Greece:

- Visiting a general practitioner: from $25 to $163.

- Dentist: $50 for an X-ray, $50-$100 for a visit to a hygienist, $80-$200 for a filling.

- Optics: eye exams may be covered by public health insurance or free with the purchase of glasses or contact lenses. The cost of a visit to an ophthalmologist ranges from $30 to $60.

- Mental health: from $40 to $80 for a consultation with a therapist, from $50 to $200 for a visit to a psychiatrist.

- Physical therapy: from $20 to $80 for a visit to a physical therapist.

- Alternative care: from $60 to $140 for visiting a homeopath.

Prescription drugs: $25 to $70 average cost of a prescription drug, $8 for an antibiotic at the pharmacy.

How to access medical care in Greece?


Many people who move to Greece immediately buy a private health insurance policy. Expats often prefer this method as the easiest option that provides the highest quality of medical care.

In major cities, including Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, you will be able to easily get all kinds of medical care.

In rural areas and on the islands, you will receive medical care at the local pharmacy or community health center. Your healthcare provider there may only speak Greek and you will probably have to travel to the mainland for specialized treatment.

Medical tourism in Greece

As we have already mentioned, Greece is a popular center for medical tourism. At the heart of Greek medicine is the idea of restoration through the improvement of the mental and emotional state, as well as the union with nature. Therefore, it is worth going to Greece for treatment with the following diseases:

- increased level of stress, fatigue and insomnia;

- neuralgia or mental disorders;

- chronic colds;

- diseases of the musculoskeletal system;

- increased or decreased blood pressure;

- diseases of the respiratory system;

- allergies or skin diseases;

- excessive or insufficient body weight;

- post-traumatic or postoperative processes in the body.

The health care system in Greece is developed at a high level and provides citizens and expats with relevant services. Also, the state should be considered as a center of medical tourism.

For many people, living in Greece sounds like a dream, but living in the country has its pros and cons. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of living in Greece here.

For a safe move to Greece, obtaining citizenship and employment, use the advice of an international lawyer.

We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in Greece.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Greece;

Legal advice on immigration in Greece;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Greece;
Medical insurance all over the world.

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