Greek healthcare

Some commentators have described the current health situation in Greece as utter chaos. The Greek National Health Service was first introduced in the 1980’s but don’t expect the same standards you would find in other European countries. The healthcare system hasn’t escaped the ravages of the country’s economic crisis and as such has found itself desperately short of cash, even to the point that basic medicines have become scarce.

Before the crisis hit the Greek government had been trying to improve the health care system by building new hospitals and improving existing ones but these plans are now on hold. With the nation stuck with spiralling debt the Greek National Health Service has been forced to rely on cash donations from the international community.

News reports from the last few months have reported that pharmaceutical companies have cut off their supply of drugs due to lack of payment and many Greek based ones have been forced to close their doors. Diseases once thought long gone from the country have made a resurgence and GPs and Nurses.

Costs of healthcare

As a citizen of the European Union you are entitled to free or cheap health care as long as you carry a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC.  If you are in need of major services or expensive treatments then you could have to pay up to 25% of the treatment costs. Emergency treatment is free in public hospitals.

Dentists and other specialists will also likely charge a fee. Due to the economic crisis these charges could be increased at any time as the government does all it can to save money.

Hospitals and Chemists

Greek hospitals have seen large scale staff and supply shortages in the past few years. In fact it’s something of a miracle that any of them remain running at all. There are 24-hour emergency hospitals in nearly every major town and city as-well-as clinics and private hospitals in the minor areas. English-speaking doctors practise in the major resort towns and key cities. Their services are often advertised in the local press and expatriate press.

Pharmacists are highly qualified in Greece and from these you can get treatment for minor ailments as well as medical advice. In the main towns many pharmacists speak English. Pharmacies aren’t usually open in the afternoons or at the weekends.

Emergency numbers and procedures

112 is the main emergency number across Europe and it is used to contact all branches of the emergency services.