Impact of the Economic Crisis on Health Indicators in Greece and the Need for Primary Health Care Services
According to literature, economic crisis has had a direct effect on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and personal income. This situation impacted negatively on health indicators and increased demand for public health care. Due to the overall public expenditure reduction, the health care system is unable to meet the needs of the population, leading to a vicious cycle. This paper aims to investigate the impact of the economic crisis on key health care indicators in Greece and to provide suggestions on the organization of primary health care services. Socio-economic data for Greece spanning the period of 2007–2017 were obtained and analyzed from the Eurostat database. Correlations were observed between public health expenditure and self-reported unmet need for medical care (r = −0.918), self-perceived health as being good/very good (r = 0.789) and self-perceived long-standing limitations in usual activities due to some/severe health problem (r = −0.954). Public health expenditure has been reduced by 41% between 2009 and 2016 in Greece. However, it is noted that 38.7% of overall health expenditures are private payments, when in 2009 was 31%, where the largest share is for outpatient services. Additionally, the hospital central orientation of the Greek public health care system causes obstacles to the access and continuity of care; secondary and tertiary health care is overburdened as it also provides primary health care services. Thus, the health care system needs to be more patient-centric, providing services in the local community through primary health care networks and improving home care services.
KeywordsEconomic crisis Health indicators Primary health
This study has been done within the framework of the Postgraduate Health and Social Care Management programme of West Attica University social policy Division.
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