Medical Tourism In Greece
It is no secret that Greece is commonly regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. Like many countries within Europe, Greece is rich in culture and heritage.
Popularly labeled as ‘the cradle of western civilization’, Greece is to be credited not only with the origins of philosophy and drama but
democracy as well. In recent years, Greece has looked to spur its economy on, by investing heavily in medical tourism.
Medical institutions within the country are working in tandem with the Government, to incentivize ourists from within Europe as well as beyond it, to visit Greece for medical treatments and procedures. Already a popular destination for medical tourists hailing from the UK, it seems that Greece’s popularity is gradually rising among a host of other EU countries as well.
Greece is particularly known for its medical procedures related to cosmetic reconstruction, done by well trained proffesionals and specialists, as well as dental treatments.
Another popular procedure that boosts medical tourism in Greece is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
This treatment is popular particularly for its high success rates in an affordable price, and amazing quality of the follow-up care provided by clinics across the country.
Equipped with high-end medical equipment and infrastructure, Greece offers a fantastic option for medical tourists in search of high-quality treatments, with low waiting times and at the most affordable prices.
The country is also filled with a number of natural spas, boasting thermal and mineral springs at over 700 locations, and it represents a fantastic place to recover from a medical procedure or treatment.
Why Medical Tourism in Greece?
Despite Greece’s medical tourism industry still being in its nascent stages, the medical advancements it has integrated into its infrastructure, have nothing less than the ones of its European counterparts. Greece’s healthcare system has been ranked among the best in Europe, by the World Health Organization.
Moreover, apart from having the latest medical procedures and equipment to offer, Greek medical tourism treatments remain some of the most affordable not only within Europe, but also globally!
Credit is due to the Greek National Health Service set up to encourage and create a healthcare system that promotes equal public distribution of healthcare and constant improvement and advancement. The organization is currently working towards building new medical facilities that integrate the latest medical equipment, across the country and is also looking to upgrade medical equipment within existing medical institutions.
If you were to visit a public hospital in Greece on any given day, you would quickly realize that, regardless the reason of your visitation and of how busy the hospital may be, the levels of hygiene and cleanliness remain exceptionally high.
There is a keen focus on maintaining hygiene standards within all public and private medical institutions in Greece.
Individuals who are capable of affording private healthcare can benefit from world-class treatments and procedures, performed by highly qualified medical professionals using the latest equipment.
Hospitals in Greece are known for providing expert treatment, particularly in the fields of orthopedics, cardiac care, dentistry, and fertility. It is no wonder that Greeks have among the highest life expectancies in the world.
Doctors within private hospitals can be expected to be multi-lingual and typically fluent in English. As a result, communication is rarely a matter of concern for medical tourists visiting Greece. Private hospitals recruit doctors who have done their training in the United States or the United Kingdom, and have alot of experience. That being said, medical training and education in Greece is now being improved to a level that meets the European Standards for Higher Education. There is immense organization within the medical community. Also, since Greece experiences one of the highest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world, one can expect to get quick and personalized treatment.
Once a particular treatment or procedure is completed, it is important to seek an environment that is conducive to relaxation, rest, and will make the recovery process faster. Greece stands out as one of the most attractive destinations in Europe boasting a wonderful climate and warm, clean sandy beaches. Beyond the sun and the sand, individuals can also embark on treks and hikes across mountainous terrain to explore the countryside. Greece has a total of 227 inhabited islands to choose from! ‘Island Hopping’ is a popular and recommended tourist activity in Greece. The country also consists of over 700 thermo springs that are known to provide therapeutic experiences.
Greece is growing as a popular medical tourism destination, precisely because entry into the country is not complicated and in many cases, quite simple.
Individuals from many countries do not even require a visa to enter Greece.
Apart from the countries inside the EU, visitors from the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia are also permitted entry without visas.
The people of Greece are typically friendly and very welcoming. They are always ready to help tourists with directions, information, or any other kind of assistance.
There is also an efficient transport system that includes a subway, so traveling from place to another is also convenient.
Living expenses are also lesser compared to Greece’s European counterparts.
As of 2011, Greek nationals were privy to one of the most consistent and efficient healthcare systems both within Europe and worldwide.
The National Health Insurance plan provided by the National Healthcare Service is a universal healthcare scheme available to all residents.
Emergency care is free in all public hospitals for all nationalities. Medical laboratory services are free to all Greece residents.
Maternity care and medical devices are subsidized.
Greece has historically had an excellent reputation with regard to healthcare, ranking 14th across the world in the year 2000, according to reports published by the World Health Organization.
However, the economic crisis it experienced post 2011, saw a number of revisions to the public healthcare plan made, as the country sought to introduce economic austerity measures.
Greek citizens who are not employed are only privy to public healthcare for up to a year before their coverage expires. Employed citizens continue to receive full coverage though.
The move towards economic austerity has also resulted in a rise in the cost of medications.
In spite of this, prescripted medication remains highly subsidized with patients having to pay only 25% of the original cost.
Also, despite the fact that the Government healthcare reform plan looked to reduce the availability of healthcare to citizens, the quality of the medical infrastructure in Greece remains at the highest standard.
Recently, the Government of Greece, upon receiving aid from the European Union, is looking to implement a number of measures that work towards improving the existing hospital facilities in Greece, as well as opening new hospitals across the country.
Public hospitals in Greece are among the cleanest and most well equipped across Europe.
Hygeia Hospital in Athens has achieved international accreditation from Joint Commission International (JCI) – the apex accreditation worldwide in the field of Quality & Security of Health Services.
In urgent situations, treatment can be expedited through the appointment of specialists, with the patient reimbursing up to 85% of the medical fees.
Also, in emergency situations, healthcare is provided free of charge at any public hospital.
Smaller outpatient clinics, accessible from more rural areas, are also adept at providing emergency care to those in need of it.
Greece’s public and private healthcare system work successfully and in tandem with each other in order to accommodate the medical needs of its citizens.
Doctors and pharmacists in Greece are highly trained. Private medical institutions typically hire doctors who have studied and practiced in countries that uphold high medical standards, such as the United Kingdom and the US.
Medical tourists can benefit from the fact that most private doctors are bilingual and fluent in English.
The quality of the medical treatment provided in private hospitals is world-class.
Greek hospitals are held in high regard, particularly for the levels of hygiene and cleanliness they maintain. There is a large emphasis on maintaining excellent working conditions.
Moreover, hospitals are well staffed and organized, adopting hierarchies that include numerous levels of support and supervision.
There are a number of nationalities that do not require a visa to enter Greece.
These include all EU countries, as well as Canada, the United States, Japan, and Australia.
Citizens of EU countries and non-EU countries with a visa waiver are permitted to visit Greece for a period of up to 90 days without a visa within any 180-day period as a tourist.
Travelers to Greece may need to demonstrate sufficient funds for the trip at the port of entry. They must also have a confirmed to-and-from ticket or a ticket to a further international destination. It is preferable that the traveler has effectual accidental or health insurance with international validity. Note that U.S citizens having diplomatic or official passports are required to compulsorily obtain a visa before they arrive at Greek ports. Such persons without visas will not be allowed to set foot in Greek soil under any circumstances.
Healthcare and Medical Providers
Major Competitors in Medical Tourism.
- United States
Health Tourism includes 8 Health-related Tourism Departments:
• Medical tourism
• Dental Tourism
• Spa tourism (can include Thalassotherapy)
• Well-being tourism
• Sports tourism (not for spectators)
• Gastronomic Tourism (within the context of healthy cuisine)
• Accessible Tourism