Impact of the economic crisis on health indicators in Greece and a proposal for primary health care services organization

According to literature economic crisis impacted negatively on health indicators and increased demand for public health care. This study aims to investigate the impact of the economic crisis on key health care indicators in Greece and to provide suggestions on the organization of primary health care services. Socio-economic and epidemiological data for Greece spanning the period of 2009 to 2017 were obtained and analysed from the Eurostat database. Significant correlations were seen between macroeconomic and health care indicators. Correlations were observed between public health expenditure and self-reported unmet need for medical care (r = -0.918, p = 0.003). Public health expenditure has been reduced by 42.7% between 2009 to 2017 in Greece. However, it is noted that 35% of overall health expenditure is private payments, the highest rate in Europe, with the out of hospital expenditures accounting for the largest share. Additionally, the hospital central orientation of the Greek public health care system causes obstacles to the access and continuity of care. Thus, the health care system needs to be more patient-centric, providing services in the local community through primary health care networks and improving home care services.
Keywords: Health system, Organization, Health indicators, Primary Health Care Services, Economic crisis.