Greece has a surplus of 20,000 doctors, with the total number reaching almost 70,000, and a substantial percentage of them being unemployed, says a Kathimerini newspaper report.
In the past two decades, Greece has produced a number of doctors which is disproportionate to its population. As a result, a number of them are unemployed or underemployed. It is indicative that in Athens at least 28% of doctors are unemployed or underemployed.
The economic crisis has driven many Greek doctors to emigrate for employment. Today, about 17,500 Greek doctors work abroad.
However, the economic crisis has also left the National Health System (ESY) with shortages of doctors and health professionals. It is estimated that there are 6,000 vacant posts for doctors in Greek public hospitals.
The fact that there is a shortage of family doctors shows that the country’s primary health care is not efficient. The lack of an adequate number of general practitioners is not offset by the excessive number of specialized doctors. According to a study called “National Health Strategy and actions of the health sector in the National Strategic Reference Framework 2014 – 2020”, in Greece there are about 3,800 general practitioners instead of 8,140 that there should be, based on European Union averages.
Also there is a surplus in specialized laboratory physicians, Specifically, there are about 4,500 specialized laboratory physicians, where there should be only 600, in proportion to the population and the EU average.
The total number of doctors in Greece (specialized and general practitioners) is approximately 69,000. This number brings Greece to first place among member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the ratio of doctors to population. Thus, in Greece there are 6.3 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. The average in OECD countries is 3.3 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants.
The study also shows that the number of doctors in Greece has increased significantly during the 2000-2008 period, from 47,250 to 68,000 and has been stabilized since.