Health expenditure in Greece is much lower than the average of OECD countries and a significantly higher percentage of it is not paid by insurance funds, according to the new report of the Agency (Health at a Glance 2023).
According to the report, the per capita expenditure on health care in Greece amounted in 2022 to approximately 3,000 dollars (adjusted for purchasing power) vs nearly $5,000 on average in OECD countries, i.e. it was 40% lower.
These costs were covered almost 38% by the patients themselves (based on data for 2021), while the corresponding percentage in the OECD average was around 24%.
The biggest increase in mortality in 2022
The report also shows that Greece had the largest increase in deaths last year (taking population growth into account), with total mortality to increase by 12.2% compared to the average of the period 2015-2019. This is attributed to the high number of coronavirus deaths in the first part of the year but – as deaths peaked in the summer – possibly also to the summer heat wave.
Many doctors and few nurses
The report also confirms that Greece has proportionately many doctors but very few nursing staff. Specifically, the number of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants was 6.3 in Greece compared to 3.7 in the OECD, while on the contrary there were only 3.8 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants compared to 9.2 in the OECD.
The number of doctors in Greece was proportionately the highest among OECD countries, but the report notes that the number may be an overestimate as it includes all licensed physicians.
Regarding the number of hospital beds, Greece is exactly at the OECD average with 4.3 beds per 1,000 inhabitants.
Greeks’ satisfaction with health services was significantly lower than the OECD average (44% versus 66.8%).
One in four Greeks (24.9%) are smokers compared to 16% in the OECD, while the percentage of Greeks who are alcoholics is lower (6.3% compared to 8.6% in the OECD).
Corman: New financial pressure on health systems
The report highlights that systems in OECD countries are facing new financial pressure. Healthcare spending in its countries in 2022 amounted to 9.2% of GDP, down from 9.7% in 2021. The highest per capita spending was recorded in the US, Switzerland and Germany.
“Amid increased demand for services as a result of the combined effect of aging populations and unhealthy lifestyles, health systems must facilitate better and more timely access to affordable health care while addressing the ongoing effects of Covid-19 on mental and physical health,” said OECD Secretary-General Matthias Korman.
He said key health indicators show that societies have not fully recovered from the pandemic, as many people continue to suffer mentally and physically.
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