Greeks ‘Paying More’ for Healthcare

Data from the Greek authorities appear to show citizens are having to pay significant amounts of money for their medical care as the national healthcare system remains beset by cutbacks.

According to the report, in 2016 Greek people paid over €5 billion ($6.1 billion) in private healthcare, above the rate seen in many other European countries.

The figures from Greece’s statistics body ELSTAT, quoted in a report by Kathimerini newspaper on Saturday, also point to the fact this figure is higher than before the country was engulfed by the economic crisis.

Private-sector benefactors have been plugging gaps in the country’s healthcare spending.

Earlier this month, an injection of over €200 million ($245 million) into the sector was announced after a deal signed between the government and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The memorandum of understanding will see the foundation fund four major infrastructure interventions across Greece as well as buying new medical equipment. The foundation has provided grants of more than $130 million since 1996 for the support of health programs in Greece.

However, persistent shortfalls in spending, coupled with taxes and worsening job conditions have seen repeated strikes by healthcare workers and medical professionals.

There has also been a ‘brain drain’ of qualified medical staff going to work in other European countries where salaries and conditions are better.