Doctors told to put limit on referrals

Greece’s main public healthcare provider, EOPYY, Friday called on unions representing doctors who work with the organization to bring their members into line after it was revealed that they had issued more than 10 million referrals in October for patients to have various health checks.

According to the figures published by EOPYY, 10.6 million referrals costing 77.2 million euros were issued in October last year. The following month, doctors signed 9.3 million notes for outpatient exams at a cost of 68.1 million euros to taxpayers.

EOPYY called on the doctors to “assume their share of the responsibility for the excessive and provocative use of health services, especially with regard to outpatient exams.”

The organization added that a failure to clamp down on the liberal use of such referrals by doctors could lead to the government having to cut public spending elsewhere, such as on wages and pensions.

However, the Panhellenic Medical Association said that it would next week take a case to the Supreme Court, arguing that limits on the value of medicines that doctors can prescribe and on the number of people they can refer for checks were against the interest of patients.