Healthcare in Greece ranks 25th out of 27

Prevention, promotion and health protection, the underfunded three axes of public health in Europe and Greece, is a fact that has become apparent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

Greece is in 25th place out of 27 countries EUsince we spend only 0.1% of GDP or 1.27% of total health care spending, while in Europe resources are allocated 2.5 times more, and in the UK – 4.5-5%.

The result has been pandemic management challenges in the advanced Nordic countries, in contrast to the countries of Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania, which implemented policies with significant differences and performed better.

In Greece, blocking the initial admission of patients to a hospital has led to an increase in admissions to covid clinics and intensive care units. And although our intubation rates are not as high as in other countries, nevertheless, the situation has led to the depletion of medical services with high costs and poor patient care.

This was announced by Professor of Health Economics Yiannis Kyriopoulos at a press conference on the topic “The New Public Health in the 21st Century” (“Η νέα Δημόσια Υγεία στον 21ο αιώνα”)

These studies were presented by the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine (IKPI). The study, published in a brochure of the same name, includes sound proposals for the creation of a public health authority in the country, interaction with regions and local governments and the creation of a body of sanitary doctors with an interdisciplinary composition, as well as the appointment of a deputy minister, restructuring and staffing of the General Secretariat of Public Health.


Presenting the study proposals, Professor of Preventive Medicine and IKPI President Yannis Tuntas pointed to the need for a unified public health authority, noting that the creation of EODY is one of the few positive developments in recent years, but it needs to be redefined to provide scientific support, collect and streamline documentation.

“Public health is the responsibility of local governments in cooperation with the regions,” Mr Tuntas said, adding that public health services need to be connected to ΕΣΥ, primary health care, schools, etc. He suggested re-establishing the National Council of Public of health, with the participation of jointly responsible ministries, to formulate the provisions of a coordinated national policy.

Insufficient public health policy

Referring to the latest law 4675/2020 on public health, he said that prevention and screening are not enough, other sectors need to be strengthened. Regarding this issue, Mr. Kyriopoulos added that there was no support provided by the health system for the results of the screening test. And this needs to be corrected.

Taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and their abolition on vegetables and fruits

Speaking about the financing of the system, Mr. Kyriopoulos added that, together with the employees of the Bank of Greece, the consequences of the possible imposition of taxes on tobacco products, alcohol, red meat, etc., as well as the provision for reducing to zero taxes on vegetables, fruits, gyms, etc. d (“healthy lifestyle”).

Tassos Filalitis, professor of social medicine at the University of Crete and president of the Hellenic Society for Public Health and Social Medicine, noted that health threats are not limited to one country, but cross borders very easily, as has become evident during the pandemic. He highly appreciated the scientific and ethical authority of the World Health Organization, but emphasized that the agency does not have the ability to impose its proposals on states, and therefore cannot be criticized, instead criticism should concern the leadership of the states themselves.

Prevention, promotion, protection

The role of WHO is to formulate strategies for the prevention, promotion and protection of health, the three pillars of public health.

Both the WHO and the European ECDC take a stand on the socioeconomic and behavioral determinants of health, such as the rise in cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc., i.e. not only infectious diseases, but also chronic diseases, the importance of which increases with age population.

Aggravating factors

Kyriakos Souliotis, professor of health policy at the University of Peloponnese, noting that the study opens a dialogue for public health in the country, stressed that improving health is a fundamental right of all citizens. The determinants of health, as defined by WHO, are associated with social, economic, environmental and behavioral factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, exercise, obesity, addictions, sexual behavior.

He pointed out that in self-assessment of health, citizens with an income of less than 1,000 euros say they are satisfied with their health (53-64%), and with an income of more than 1,500-2,000 euros, the figure reaches 80%.

The percentage of citizens who are satisfied with their state of health and have a stable income (self-employed, farmers, etc.) does not exceed 60%.

In Greece, the depression rate is close to the EU average at 3.8%, although the situation is expected to worsen due to the impact of the pandemic. Mr. Souliotis noted that the pandemic is the biggest problem of the century and suggested integrating public health into all strategies.

He stressed that public health has been underestimated at the national and supranational level, the pandemic has been used in political disputes over protectionist remedies and vaccines, and at the supranational level the system has been found to be “immature” to deal with such threats.

At the national level, he said, we need a mechanism for timely mobilization and immediate intervention, as climate change is on the doorstep.

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