Effects of the economic crisis on health and healthcare in Greece in the literature from 2009 to 2013: a systematic review

Health Policy. 2014 Apr;115(2-3):111-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Feb 8.


Background: Due to the current economic crisis in Greece, effects on health and healthcare have been reported. The aim of this study was to present a systematic overview of the consequences that the financial crisis has had for health and healthcare in Greece.

Methods: Systematic literature review was conducted in order to identify articles that were published from January 2009 to March 2013 and explicitly referred to the effects of economic crisis on health or healthcare, in Greece. Data extraction and synthesis was performed with the use of thematic analysis.

Findings: Thirty-nine studies were considered for further analyses. Various existing and potential relevant effects were identified, including reductions in public health expenditure and changes in healthcare services and the pharmaceutical market, with an increasing number of admissions in public healthcare sector, and efficiency and organizational-related issues being evident, overall. Indications were found for post-crisis deterioration of public health with increasing rates of mental health, suicides, and epidemics, and deterioration of self-rated health.

Conclusion: The recent efforts to reform the Greek National Health System have been focusing mainly on short-term effects by reducing expenditure, while the measures imposed seem to have dubious long-term consequences for Greek public health and healthcare.

Keywords: Economic recession; Greece; Health care; Health care reform; Public health.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Economic Recession*
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / economics
  • Suicide / economics
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data