Primary Health Care in Greece: Current Data and Perspectives

Background: Under the current social and economic circumstances Primary Health Care (PHC) has emerged as a means of promotion of quality and reduction of cost in the health care services. Universal and equal access is regarded as a priority of PHC. Aim: Analysis of the current PHC network in Greece, with a view to identification of deficiencies and delineation of future prospects in the light of the recent legislation related to government decentralization and PHC reform. Method: Bibliographic review of data from Greek and international databases and secondary analysis. Results: The resent legislation regarding PHC has been inadequately promoted. PHC in Greece is provided by a heterogenous network comprised of services of the National Healthcare System (“Ethnikon Systima Ygeias”, ESY), Social Insurance Organisations (SIOs), regional authorities (municipalities, perfectures) and private practicioners. The main characteristics of the present PHC network are fragmentation, ineffective central coordination and inconsistency in the availability, accessibility and quality of PHC services between urban and rural areas. Health promotion services are inadequate. Recent legislation reforms target unification of the health sector of the SIOs to form a new organisation which will be responsible for the PHC network in Greece. In addition, the legislation on decentralisation confers the responsibility for local PHC policies on the regional authorities. Conclusions: Effective enforcement the new legislation is expected to have a favourable effect on the Greek PHC system. It is crucial that quality assessment and management systems are developed to monitor the changes.

Category: Volume 51, N 1
Hits: 481 Hits
Created Date: 15-03-2012
Authors: Dimitrios A. Vrachatis , Angelos Papadopoulos