Exploring health care reform in a changing Europe: lessons from Greece

Eur J Gen Pract. 2013 Sep;19(3):194-9. doi: 10.3109/13814788.2013.779663. Epub 2013 Apr 12.


The economic crisis is the major theme in the Eurozone and its impact on public health and outcomes is largely discussed. Under this pressure, concerns of further inequalities exist that may have an impact on the burden of several diseases in certain European countries. In this context, Greece is currently an issue of top interest in any international economic discussion. Although the background of the recession has been largely discussed as a political crisis, its health effects on the population, as well as the key role of primary care and general practice/family medicine in health care reform remain to be explored. Serving both the worldwide trend of orienting health care systems towards strengthened primary care and the inner need for minimizing the demand and lessening the burden from the dysfunctional and costly hospital-care system, the economic crisis sets the perfect timing for prioritizing primary health care. In this article a unique window of opportunity for health care reform in Greece is examined, attempting to establish the axes of an example of how health care system can be reshaped amidst the economic crisis. Equity, quality, value framework, medical professionalism, information technology and decentralization emerge as topics of central interest. There is no doubt that Europe is transitioning under challenging social, economic and public health perspectives. However, taking Greece as an example, the current economic situation sets a good timing for health care reform and the key messages of this paper could be used by other countries facing similar problems.

MeSH terms

  • Family Practice / economics
  • Family Practice / organization & administration
  • General Practice / economics
  • General Practice / organization & administration
  • Greece
  • Health Care Reform / economics*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Public Health*