NEWS

Greeks spending less on their health

Six out of 10 Greeks have consciously cut their spending on medical treatment as the impact of the economic crisis tightens their budgets but four in 10 say their last visit to a doctor was to a private practitioner due to concerns about the plummeting quality of state health services, a new study has shown.

The seemingly contradictory conclusions of the study, carried out by the National School of Public Health (ESDY), were presented on Thursday at a press conference where the role of Greece?s main public healthcare provider (EOPYY) was dissected.

Of the respondents questioned in the ESDY study, around half said they would like to see the debt-ridden EOPYY replaced by a new and better-functioning organization. Six out of 10 said they were mistrustful of doctors, believing that they often prescribed expensive drugs that were not necessary.

The head of EOPYY, Gerasimos Voudouris, who attended the press conference, suggested that politicians bore the blame for the organization?s 2-billion-euro deficit, pointing to unidentified individuals who he said had not contributed to the organization?s development and had rejected forward-looking proposals.

?EOPYY is not doomed, those who are doomed are those who fail to understand that the defense, health and education sectors are in the front line,? Voudouris said.

The EOPYY chief claimed that ?games are being played? at the expense of the organization, referring to ?hidden debts? that suddenly had been discovered and were obstructing the disbursement of a crucial tranche of rescue funding on which Greece?s solvency relies.

He was referring to some 950 million euros that EOPYY is said to owe the country?s pharmacists.

The problem with the organization?s funding has undermined its credibility in the eyes of pharmacists, doctors and suppliers, as well as creating a general sense of insecurity among citizens who are insured with EOPYY, several medics told Thursday?s press conference.