Greece’s Ministry of Health is set to establish seven university-affiliated health centers across the country by the end of 2024. These centers will be linked to established medical schools, with the intent being to upgrade primary healthcare.

As part of this plan, a new health center is slated for development in the outskirts of western Athens, operating under the University Hospital Attikon. Simultaneously, similar university health centers are scheduled to be inaugurated in strategic locations such as Thessaloniki, Patras, Larissa, Alexandroupolis, Ioannina and Heraklion (Irakleio) Crete. This comprehensive approach aims to cover the entire country and align with the geographical locations of prominent Medical Schools.

The primary objectives of these centers include providing high-quality healthcare to citizens and establishing educational hubs for medical professionals. The move is anticipated to alleviate the strain on the National Health System (ESY), which has been strained due to the absence of a comprehensive and effective outpatient care system.

The critical issue of overcrowding in large hospitals nationwide, where more than 1,000 patients arrive within a 24-hour timeframe, will be addressed by these university health centers. It is estimated that 25% to 45% of cases arriving at hospitals during peak times could be effectively managed by primary health services.

Adding a significant dimension to this initiative, telemedicine training stations will be integrated into all university health centers. This technological advancement is expected to have a dual impact – firstly, enhancing the efficient management of emergency cases. Secondly, these telemedicine facilities will play a crucial role in training doctors across the country in handling patients with chronic diseases within the primary healthcare structures. This aims to prevent unnecessary influx into hospital emergency departments.