One in four people excluded from the state health system

A quarter of the population in Greece is excluded from the state health system: 27.8 percent of the population do not have free medical and pharmaceutical care, either because they are not entitled to it, because they are unaware of their rights, are afraid to apply or are suspicious. Those without social security coverage – illegal workers, the long-term unemployed, immigrants and a number of socially excluded groups of people, such as ethnic Greeks from the former Soviet Union and Gypsies – comprise the majority of people who do not use the services of the country’s state hospital outpatient clinics. Apart from the question of social justice, access to medical care is directly linked to public health, particularly with regard to infectious diseases. In a memorandum in February this year, the Coordination Committee of Social Organizations drew to the attention of the Center for the Control of Infectious Diseases (KEELPNO) the consequences of excluding whole population groups from access to medical care. The memorandum, also adopted by the parliamentary Human Rights Commission, is yet to receive a response.