You are here:

Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Greece, including Greek Islands

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge on the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return.

Your EHIC also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit isn't specifically to give birth.

If you don't have your EHIC with you or you've lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

Get the EHIC smartphone app

The European Commission has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement, and emergency numbers.

If you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment, please see our section about Seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Find help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a medical emergency during your stay in Greece, dial 112. Emergency public ambulance services to state hospitals are free.

Other important numbers to note down:

  • 166 – ambulance services (Εθνικό Κέντρο Αμεσης Βοήθειας)
  • 100 – police (Άμεση Δράση Αστυνομίας)
  • 171 – Tourist police (Τουριστική Αστυνομία)
  • 199 – fire department (Πυροσβεστική Υπηρεσία)
  • 108 – coast guard (Άμεση Επέμβαση Λιμενικού Σώματος)
  • 1016 – SOS Doctors (SOS ΙΑΤΡΟΙ)
    SOS DOCTORS are a Greek organization of free-lancers, specialised doctors, with the exclusive purpose of providing 24-hour home medical services in emergencies. Note they are not covered by the EHIC.

Useful emergency words:

  • help – voithia
  • look out – prosekse
  • ambulance – asthenoforo
  • doctor – yiatros
  • police – astinomia
  • fire – fotia
  • firemen – pyrosvestes
  • do you speak English? – milate anglika?

Health services and costs

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment so you will need to make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Greek National Organisation for Healthcare Services Provision (EOPYY).

Information is also available online from the EOPYY website (www.eopyy.gov.gr). Here you can find general information on how to access healthcare, as well as contact details of EOPYY’s local offices that cover all Greek regions, and contact details of the EOPYY contracted doctors (information is in Greek only).

You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

Doctors and dentists

You should try to consult an EOPYY-contracted doctor to receive treatment for free or at a reduced cost. However, ensure you present your EHIC on the day, which entitles you to the same emergency medical treatment received by Greek nationals.

You may also consult a doctor of the newly established PEDY Units (National Primary Healthcare Network) free of charge as an EHIC holder. At PEDY Units you may also avail of a certain number of dental services, alternatively provided at limited public hospitals.

Hospital treatment

Just like in the UK, you'll need a doctor's referral for non-emergency hospital treatment. Hospital treatment is free of charge in a public hospital if you are referred by an EOPYY contracted doctor or by the hospital. For private clinics contracted with EOPYY, you will be charged with a co-payment depending on the terms of the contract. Bear in mind that you show your EHIC on admission.

Prescriptions

Medicines prescribed by an EOPYY contracted doctor or a doctor of a PEDY Unit are dispensable by any pharmacy. You will be charged about a 25% patient charge. Charges may vary depending on the illness for which the medicament is prescribed. This is non-refundable in Greece.

You must collect your prescription within five working days of it being issued otherwise it will be invalid.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you travel. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK, however, most suppliers will be able to advices you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquide: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about travelling abroad with a lung condition.

Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You will need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK Dialysis Unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Greece nearest to where you will be staying. You can look up UK renal units on The Renal Association website.

Ensure you make arrangements according to your UK schedule. There also may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. The National Kidney Federation website offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for heamodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients, and guidelines for transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living in Greece

If you live and work in Greece you will need a Social Insurance Number.

If you move to Greece long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to register with the Greek authorities and get a Social Insurance Number – AMKA in Greek. It is essential for those who plan to work, to be insured, obtain medical and hospital care or receive a pension or benefits. You can get an AMKA number through your local KEP office (Citizens Service Centre – information in Greek only). Once you are registered to work in Greece and make National Insurance contributions, you'll be entitled to state-run healthcare on the same basis as a Greek national.

You’ll also have to register with the Greek National Organisation for Healthcare Services Provision (EOPYY). Information is available online from the EOPYY website (www.eopyy.gov.gr). Here you can find general information on how to access healthcare, as well as contact details of EOPYY’s local offices that cover all Greek regions, and contact details of the EOPYY contracted doctors (information is in Greek only).

Visit GOV.UK for more information about Living in Greece.

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Greece, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in Greece. Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3506
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, visit the Moving abroad section.

Pensioners

If you live in Greece and you receive an exportable UK Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form.

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your form via the International Pension Centre at the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 7777.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Once issued, register the S1 form with the relevant authority in Greece. Often you need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.

Once you have registered your S1 in Greece, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries.

Early retirees

Since July 1 2014 you are no longer able to apply for residual S1 form.
If you already have a residual S1 this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Find out more about the new rules.

Page last reviewed: 14/08/2014

Next review due: 14/08/2016

Marine creature stings

Information on jellyfish, stingray, weever fish and sea urchin stings, and when you should seek medical help

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): hot summer holidays

Always expect the unexpected: a painful lesson the young man in this video had to learn. Find out why you should have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when you go abroad.

Media last reviewed: 17/02/2015

Next review due: 17/02/2017