Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Rise in user fees in Greece could reduce access to healthcare, charity warns

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d200

Rapid Response:

No time or money to reform Greek healthcare system: only solution to scrap and rebuild it from zero.

Dear Editor,

We read: tragedy, shortages of medical supplies, bribes, long waiting
times, understaffing, suicides rose by 40%, new HIV infections rose by
52%, patient deliberate HIV self-infection to obtain access to State
benefits or faster admission onto drug substitution programmes, tens of
thousands of Greeks seeking medical attention from NGO street clinics[1],
600 Greek medical doctors serving as volunteers in Africa return to help
patients in their crisis-hit Country, NGO food containers programmed to be
sent to Africa to be distributed in Greece[3], primary school pupils
fainting in class from starvation[4], State money lasting only for another
15 days [10] [11] [12] [13], waiting for European Community/International
Monetary Fund/European Central Bank combined rescue loan to survive,
technical default to last for weeks[5], in the study The Lancet
published[1] [2], and other news agency reports.

On the other hand, Greek public hospitals continue to produce every
year debt exceeding their total market value [6] and Greece continues to
be by far the first European Country in pharmaceutical expenditure per
capita [7] [8] [9]!

It is clear that the situation has reached breaking-point.

There is no time or money to plan long-term healthcare reforms.

Immediate action must be taken.

Since the existing healthcare system has been proven inefficient,
corrupted and extremely expensive, Ministry officials should scrap it and
build a new one, from zero.


[1] doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61556-0

[2] doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61152-5




[6] Stavros Saripanidis' Rapid Response in:

[7] Stavros Saripanidis' Rapid Response in:







Competing interests: No competing interests

30 October 2011
Stavros Saripanidis
Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Greece
Private Sector, 55131