Some 2 million Greeks without social insurance will be able to receive free treatment at state hospitals from next month as long as they get a referral from a doctor at the Primary National Healthcare Network (PEDY) which has replaced the national healthcare provider (EOPYY).
Heralding the initiative on Thursday at a meeting with the heads of the country’s public hospitals, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said the government’s aim was to convey the message that there can no longer be citizens who are excluded from free healthcare. “As the country emerges from the crisis, injustices will be redressed,” Georgiadis said.
According to the new system, which Georgiadis indicated would start operating in June, all citizens will be able to get free healthcare at public hospitals by presenting a referral from a PEDY-affiliated doctor. Three-member medical committees are to be set up at all hospitals to approve these referrals and certify that the patients are in genuine need of medical care.
PEDY clinics already offer free healthcare to the uninsured with the current initiative aimed at extending that service to all hospitals in the national health service.
Georgiadis and members of the new healthcare network are also in talks aimed at providing uninsured citizens with free medicines. The only way for uninsured Greeks to currently get medicines, apart from buying the drugs, is to visit free surgeries run by municipalities or a medicine bank run by the Athens Medical Association and the Federation of Greek Pharmaceutical Companies.