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Poor healthcare quality in Greece due to spending cuts

28 January 2016 / 20:01:43  GRReporter
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For another year in a row the Greek healthcare system is low in the European ranking. It occupies the 28th place among 35 European countries in terms of effectiveness for the consumers of healthcare services.

The main problems in the Greek system are the inability of patients to consult the family doctor during the day, waiting lists in hospitals, the envelopes of money that doctors often receive and demand, the excessive use of antibiotics, the infections with multi-resistant germs, the deficient care for adults, caesarean deliveries and the lack of prevention of smoking.

In addition, the Greek healthcare system does not provide patients with the opportunity to seek a second expert opinion on a disease and access their medical files.

The advantages of the Greek system include the legislation on patients' rights, the direct access to a specialized doctor without having to be directed to one prior to that and the reduced death cases due to strokes.

The ranking is prepared by the independent organization Health Consumer Powerhouse based on 48 indicators of the effectiveness of the healthcare systems in Europe. It gives Greece 577 points from a maximum of 1,000.

First on the list is the Netherlands with 916, second Switzerland with 894 and third Norway with 854 points. Two Balkan countries are at the bottom of the list, namely Montenegro and Albania, and Poland, respectively with 484, 524 and 523 points.

Greece ranks far behind the other countries of southern Europe such as Spain (19th place with 69 points), Portugal (20th place with 691 points) and Italy (22nd place and 667 points). Macedonia ranks before it, occupying the 18th place with 699 points.

The Greek media establish with concern that each year the Greek healthcare system is falling to a lower position. In 2012 the country ranked 22nd, in 2013 25th and over the past two years 28th.

The ranking pays particular attention to the dramatic cuts in healthcare spending per capita during the first crisis years. Experts say they are much higher compared to the budget cuts made in the other countries.

Experts point out that between 2009 and 2011, Greece reported a 28% decrease in healthcare costs and define this percentage as "unique in Europe". In the other crisis-hit countries, the corresponding reduction was equal to, or less than, 10%.

In addition, the report states that the austerity introduced in Greece limited the imports of innovative and expensive drugs. It emphasizes, however, that in 2012 Greece continued to be the third largest consumer of pharmaceuticals in Europe after Sweden and France, which was partly due to the low consumption of generic medicines.

Tags: SocietyHealthcare systemsEuropean ranking
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