Healthcare in hard times: Greece

Xavier Symons
Feb 14, 2015
Reproduced with Permission

As the Greek health system buckles under economic pressure, patients are taking desperate measures to ensure basic care. Many patients in general hospitals are renting illegal nurses to ensure ongoing attention.

The nurses, usually from eastern European countries, have little or no training, but they offer affordable rates and for many patients are the only option.

"Because of the crisis, the last three years, we see more and more illegal nurses," said Mr. Anastasios Grigoropoulos, the chief executive of Evangelismos Hospital.

One top official said he believed that half of the nursing care in Greece came from 18,000 illegal providers.

The nurses perform simple tasks like changing IVs, checking blood pressure and cleaning wounds.

Sometimes hospital staff lack the jurisdiction to act without police intervention, and they too are aware of the harsh realities of the staff shortage. "You can't do anything", claims Grigoropoulos.