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Six in ten Greeks pay from their own pocket for health services

Majority of Greeks pay from their own pockets for health care services, an average of 300 euros per year for doctors’ visits and laboratory and diagnostic tests. At the same time, 21 percent say they did not receive medical care they needed mainly because mainly of the cost.

The nationwide survey HELLAS HEALTH VII took place in May-June 2017 on a representative sample of 1,000 adults across the country. The results give a clear picture about the state of health and access to health services as well as to medicine consumption and the level of vaccination coverage.

For Greeks the cost of health care remains a major problem.

62% of respondents said that they pay for health care services

21% of respondents said they did not receive medical care they needed, mainly because of the cost (53%), negligence (11%) and long waiting (11%).

Majority of respondents (37%) said they seek doctors assigned with the National Healthcare System (EOPYY),  19% doctors in public hospitals, 7% to public health centers (PEDY) and 23% private doctors.

In the average a Greek pays €300 from own pockets for visiting doctors, for laboratory and diagnostic checks. Analytically: 170 euros for visits to doctors, 75 euros for dentists and 50 euros for laboratory and diagnostic tests.

Access to medicine even to prescription drugs lays heavy on citizens’ pockets, even if they are  insured due to the high self-participation cost.

  • 45% of respondents said they were very worried about covering the cost of prescription drugs.

This cost was a major problem for 28% and a small problem for 21% of respondents in 2016.

  • 42% said they spend 10-50 euros per month for prescription drugs,
  • 35% less than 10 euros
  • 8% 50-100 euros
  • 3% 100-200 euros
  • 1% 200-500 euros
  • only 10% get their medications with 0% participation.

Over-consumption of antibiotics:

The survey revealed that 30% of visits to the pharmacy in the month of the survey (May-June 2017) concerned the supply of prescription drugs without prescription, of which 35% was for the purchase of antibiotics.

Generics
36% said they know generic drugs very well or fairly well, but 38% said they do not know that they cost 2/3 of the price of the prototypes.

  • 23% said they trust them a lot or quite a lot
  • 19% said they always buy generic
  • 42% said they prefer generics only if the amount of money they can say is high
  • 27% prefer the original medicine regardless of the price.

Vaccination coverage:
94% of children are fully vaccinated, while adults vaccination is rare.

Analytically: most childhood vaccinations take place in private clinics.

15% reported difficulty in attempting to vaccinate their children due to shortage (64%), cost (34%), difficulties to get an a appointment (10%).

Despite the high rate of vaccination coverage for children, only 24% of the parents have vaccinated their children against the HPV virus.

Adults vaccination:

  • 19% do not know that adults have to be vaccinated
  • 27% have never been vaccinated in their adult life.
  • 23% do not know if they belong to a high-risk group for pulmonary infections
  • 78% are unaware of the HPV vaccine, mainly due to a lack of information (76%)

Of those vaccinated: 30% were vaccinated for influenza, 25% for diphtheria / tetanus / whooping cough, 15% for pneumococcus and 14% for hepatitis B.

The impact of the anti-vaccination movement: At the time of the survey, 10% believed that vaccine risks were greater than the benefits. 58% of those who did not vaccinate their children reported their disagreement and possible side effects as their main reason.

The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Metron Analysis, the Center for the Study of Health Services of the Medical School of the University of Athens and the support of several pharmaceutical companies.

PS I am curious about the respondents’ profile in health insurance, for example, the rate of those who were insured or not.

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3 comments

  1. We only need to wait a few years when NOBODY will receive free government healthcare and NOBODY will be able to pay for a healthcare plan IN ANY COUNTRY WHATSOEVER. If they want a long and “quality” life people will have to start taking care of themselves better, stop smoking, stop excessive drinking, stop eating junk, more exercise, stop destroying the environment which affects health in important ways. And the older you get the more careful you will have to be and the more exercise you will need. Start educating your children and grandchildren now.

  2. I had read all the negative news about the status of Greek public medicine and then I recently had my own experience.

    Not long ago, I had terrible stomach cramps much of the night and by about 4 am my wife called the ambulance, which came within about 15 minutes. We asked to be taken to a private hospital that we knew but they said they could only take us to a public hospital. My cramps got worse…

    Immediately upon my arrival, a couple of doctors came to take care of me. All sorts of tests including an x-ray. An infusion to release the pain. Etc. A couple of hours later I felt ok and the ambulance took me back home. Cost? Zero. All they needed to see was my Austrian e-card (the Austrian EOPYY).

    Surprised, I decided to test this further and went to see a EOPYY doctor for a general check-up. Again, all she needed to see was my e-card. The doctor did all sorts of checks for almost 1 hour. Then she wrote out a list of blood tests I should take. It was about 3 pages long. She sent me to a private institute by the name of Euromedica and I thought all those tests would cost me a fortune. They cost me 17,98 EUR, to be exact. And another 10 Euros for an x-ray. Incidentally, Euromedica was a totally modern place with the most modern instruments (in the back I could even see a CT scanner which in Austria not every hospital has).

    In Austria, too, an ambulance would have taken me to the emergency room at the next hospital and I would have been treated there without any charge. However, once back in shape, they would not have driven me back home.

    The Austrian EOPYY doctor would never have spent one hour with me (a EOPYY doctor simply can’t afford to spend so much time with one patient). For a general check-up, he might have filled one page with blood tests but not three (or if three, I would have had to pay a lot for the other two pages). And I definitely would not have been able to accomplish all of that within 24 hours.

  3. I don’ even understand the concept of “diffilcuty of attempting to vaccinate children”. What kind of health system do you have, anyway? Greece cant’ blame foreign countries or the economy for that, i suppose.

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