With thousands of Greek doctors having fled to other countries to find work, better pay and escape a crushing economic crisis, the government wants retired physicians on its islands and in rural areas – to work free.
With millions of tourists flooding Greece for a second straight record-breaking season, the islands especially find themselves with a shortage to deal with the numbers, especially physicians with specialties.
On Naxos in the Cyclades, there is only one pediatrician affiliated with the state health insurer EOPYY, giving a boost to private doctors but at a far higher cost.
According to Greek news, gynecologists, urologists and cardiologists affiliated with EOPYY are very rare in popular islands such as Ios, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and Syros.
With health care already being cut sharply, the government plan is to hope retired doctors will provide voluntary care and take care of their own living arrangements. Their work would be limited to medical exams and prescribing medicine.
To overcome a staff shortage in rural island clinics, the Health Ministry will create a “task force” composed of doctors, paramedics, nurses, psychologists, social workers and midwives.