Greece’s main public healthcare provider, EOPYY, admitted Monday it is facing a “nightmare” over the high number of CT and MRI scans that Greeks are continuing to have, blaming the practice on excessive demands from patients and an absence of restraint from doctors.
According to EOPYY, between August 2013 and July 2014, Greeks for whom it provided coverage had 1.01 million CT scans and more than 581,000 MRI scans. This cost a total of more than 144 million euros.
Dimitris Varnavas, head of the OENGE union representing state hospital doctors, suggested that a decision to scrap limits on where CT scanners could be installed had fueled the number of scans taking place. “Some 130 new permits have been issued in the last year, triggering an equivalent but groundless increase in demand,” he said. “This has sent costs soaring and bombarded people with radiation.”
According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) most recent report on public healthcare, Greeks had 180.3 CT scans per 1,000 people per year, compared to an OECD average of 125.5, and this despite the fact that Greeks are less likely to visit their doctors than their OECD counterparts. In Greece there are just four visits to the doctor per capita per annum, whereas the OECD average is 6.7.