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Healthcare in Greece

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS.

This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Visitors to Greece

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a medical emergency or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Calls are free of charge from any phone, including mobile phones.

Other important phone 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 IATPOI) are a Greek organisation of freelance, specialised doctors, with the exclusive purpose of providing 24-hour home medical services in emergencies. They are not covered by the EHIC.

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC. You should always buy enough travel insurance and make sure you have access to funding to cover any medical treatment abroad. Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund.

EHIC does not cover certain costs, including:

  • private treatment
  • being brought back to the UK
  • mountain rescue services
  • cruises

Your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) does not cover you for 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 available on the EOPYY website, with details of EOYPP’s local offices covering all Greek regions, and contact details of EOPYY contracted doctors.

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.

People with pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Greece. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, to make sure you can get the cover you need. If you have an EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU but may not work after that.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Make sure you take with you any documents about your health condition or medication.

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

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 state hospitals.

Hospitals

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 state 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 must 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 5 working days of it being issued otherwise it will be invalid.

Bringing your own medicines to Greece

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that extra legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal licence to take controlled medicines abroad. Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information on travelling with controlled medicines.

After the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare when visiting Greece is likely to change. If you are planning to visit Greece after the UK leaves the EU, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country.

The UK government is seeking agreements with countries, including Greece, on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

This guide will be updated with further information on travelling to Greece as the circumstances change.

Working in Greece

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

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. 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).

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 3500
Outside UK: 0191 203 7010

Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (closed weekends and bank holidays)

For more information, visit the Moving abroad section.

After the UK leaves the EU

If you are resident in Greece, the Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA) will issue you with an AMKA number, which will entitle you to state-funded healthcare in the same way as Greek citizens, including non-emergency healthcare.

You can register with any doctor that is affiliated with the Greek National Organisation for Healthcare Services Provision (EOPYY), including private providers.

You may need to make co-payments to access healthcare, including for diagnostic and laboratory tests, outpatient medicines and some doctors' visits. However, you may be exempt from co-payments if you have a chronic condition or low income.

Pensioners in Greece

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

If you live in Greece and 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 certificate.

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.

S1 certificate (formerly known as E106)

A S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in the Greece. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.

You should continue to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • have worked and paid contributions in the UK
  • receive some UK benefits such as pensions

Apply through the Business Services Authority for an S1 certificate.

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

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.

Students in Greece

Until the UK leaves the EU, if you are going to study or are currently studying in Greece as part of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government. You and any dependants will need an EHIC. The government always advises UK citizens to take out travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations.

After the UK leaves the EU, you are likely to need to apply for a student residency permit. You should continue to buy travel insurance and ensure that any insurance product you buy has the necessary healthcare coverage to ensure you can get any treatment you might require.

Page last reviewed: 28 January 2019
Next review due: 28 January 2022