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Greek Medical Association Calls on Gov’t to Tap into Health Tourism

medical_tourismThe Greek medical system is in dire need of reforms, which once implemented and completed will pave the way for the establishment of Greece as a leading medical tourism destination, Athens Medical Association President George Patoulis said recently.

Athens Medical Association president George Patoulis.

Athens Medical Association president George Patoulis.

In an interview to Athens News Agency, Patoulis, who is also mayor of Maroussi, said the Greek medical system is “about to collapse”, impacting patients, particularly those belonging to vulnerable groups, who end up paying for health services or being excluded, as well as doctors, who are forced to leave Greece in search of a better future.

Patoulis underlines that the government must realize the “golden opportunity”  behind the development of the health system. “The national health system is on an orbit of collapse due to lack of funding and an inability on behalf of political leadership in recent years to move ahead with the necessary reforms that can ensure its viability,” he said.

“Health tourism is the golden opportunity for our country. It can contribute to the development and recovery of the economy and also to the wealth and quality of services offered, the improvement of the quality of the domestic tourism product and lead to the extension of the tourism season, which is one of the biggest challenges for Greek tourism,” he said.

Medical_Tourism_1“This growth would inevitably lead to the involvement and development of other sectors of the Greek economy such as the pharmaceutical industry, the hotel industry etc,” Patoulis said, adding that the Panhellenic Medical Association’s tourism department, has launched a series of activities to promote Greece as a health tourism destination, including an event titled “Health Tourism in Greece and its Promising Prospects” held in New York earlier this month.

Patoulis stressed the need to develop far-reaching strategies to promote Greece as a global medical tourism destination with the aim of creating new jobs, promoting major Greek cities as city break destinations, attracting high-income patients and boosting medical tourism-related investments.

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