Citizens that have not registered with a “ family doctor” by January 1 will continue to enjoy exactly the same level of health care services, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos said in an interview with Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA) on Saturday.
People will still be able to see National Health System (ESY) doctors or other physicians of their choice, while doctors will continue prescribing medicine and tests for them, Xanthos explained.
However, once the family doctor service is fully operational, unregistered citizens will not be eligible for referrals to doctors within the ESY, he clarified.
“ The Primary Health Care (PHC) model is being developed slowly and with careful steps… as has happened in every country of the world where a serious health system reform was undertaken,” Xanthos told ANA.
He added that both the family doctor plan and the PHC reform came to Greece with great delay compared to the rest of the continent. Specifically regarding the family doctor, Xanthos said that the government does not seek to create some kind of “ police” service putting obstacles in patients’ access to health care. On the contrary, he said, the aim is “ to ensure a continuous, complete and high quality primary health care centered on prevention and health education, and not only on disease cure.”
The PHC is currently being developped, with the family doctor being one of its key elements. To this day, 101 Local Health Groups (LHG) have been set up, which the Ministry aims to have increased to 120 by January 2019 and to 239 by the end of the reform. In addition, the Ministry will expand the network of doctors working for the National Organisation of Healthcare Provision (EOPYY).