Greece’s health care system in turmoil has resulted in the growth of illegal clinics


The financial crisis has devastated the health care system in Greece. Greece’s once-massive public health system has been a top target for spending cuts to finance the country’s debts to international creditors. The healthcare budget has been cut by almost 50 per cent since 2009, as the prices even insured patients pay for medicines have shot up.

As reported here, Greek hospitals are on the brink of collapse. Government health spending plummeted 25 percent between 2009 and 2012. Spending on drugs has fallen by 32 per cent since 2010.

As a result, public hospitals have had to drastically cut their budgets, in some cases by as much as 50 percent, firing staff, cutting back on testing kits and supplies and abstaining from hiring new doctors to replace those who have retired or have left the country.

Add to that the 2.5 million Greeks, a quarter of the population, left uninsured.

As a result, illegal clinics are springing up around the country. As reported here, there are now more than 40 ‘solidarity’ health clinics across Greece run completely by volunteer doctors and regular citizens. No one gets paid, it’s completely voluntary driven by a sense of solidarity in the community.

The clinics are unregulated and illegal.  But government regulators have turned a blind eye. They know the system is crippled and they know how much the public health system has come to rely on this small army of volunteers.

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