This is my experience... sorry lots of info if you're not pregnant!
I had my twins on December 16th 2006 in Agios Nikolaos hospital. I was pretty worried after hearing all the scare stories. I have TAXE insurance but for only one year (for many benefits you need it for 2 years, not quite sure on all of that as my partner handles that side).
We were recommended a doctor (Dr Katassos?) and decided to use the public services, mainly due to financial reasons. I didn't have enough stamps for the health service at the beginning of the pregnancy but it only cost 3 euros for each check-up. Sometimes we had to wait hours though, with many heavily-pregnant women sitting in a crowded corridor. Each visit they checked my weight and asked me general questions and every month they had a look at the babies with an external scan. (This happens for single pregnancies too not just twins). We usually had to remind the room next door to check my blood pressure. At the initial meeting I had a load of blood tests (they didnt charge me as they knew I was waiting for health book but I think costs around 200 euros the lot??), and when they saw I was anaemic was given iron tablets. At 5 months they will tell you the gender if you want to know, and actually if you look carefully on the photos you get each month it also tells you there.
I was expecting a Caesarean 80% anyway because of the twins. At my 7 month check, the doc said he could feel my uterus contracting so they sent me to be tested on the machine for that. I had to be admitted in the end and put on a drip with medication as my doc believed the twins were on their way too early. I ended up in there for one month... Actually it was not too bad. I've never been in hospital in the UK so can't compare, but the food was adequate. Morning: milk/tea/coffee & toast & jam. Lunch: apple, soup, salad, 'greek' type food eg horta, lemony pasta, chicken etc, similar for dinner. You need to back it up with what you like though, and its very boring so definitely need visiters. I was in a ward with 3 beds, and I found it a little disturbing that women having abortions shared rooms with pregnant women and those who had just given birth? I saw a lot of women come in and out. Usually you are in for 4 days for a natural birth and 5 for a Caesarean. One person can stay over night with you but they can only sleep in a chair (or as one mother did, slept on the bed while her pregnant daughter wandered the corridors!). There is a cafe just down the corridor.
The nurses were great, a mixed bunch but you got to know them, about 50% spoke English (btw my doc spoke perfect English as did most of the people higher than nurse level). I do understand most Greek so that really helped as not many of my fellow patients were fluent. I found it was a mix of Greeks, Eastern Europeans and Russians, but many Greeks had actually come from Athens because they knew my doc Katassos.
After one boring month of going for the contraction test every day the doc decided at exactly 8 months that he would get them out. At around 10 pm he came down from a surgery, looked at my results and said to call my mum and partner. 30 minutes later I was prepped (they shave you, change to a gown and sort your IV.)MY partner and mum got here just in time to go up. Nobody is allowed in with you. My anaesthetist was fantastic, really reassuring, had an epidural no probs, he held my hand through everything and explained it all and came to see me and the boys later. Op took around 30 minutes. Everything very clean and professional.
Recovery was hard. You have to have someone with you all the time, the nurses do not do things like take you to the bathroom. Your visitors will be expected to help lift you, to help wash you etc, and sometimes not that much privacy at all. Also one of my boys was a little small and was sent to Heraklion for 10 days to watch his weight as Ag Nik did not have facilities. The first night both stayed in incubators in the next room then Matthew stayed by my bed and Alexander went to Heraklion in morning.
One head nurse spent ages trying to help me breastfeed but as they were early and op and one sent away I never had enough milk to do it, although I felt they much preferred me to breastfeed. I too was told to give them camomile tea, and as my mum is aromatherapist had no problem. Didnt do them any harm anyway. Had to provide nappies, milk-they gave things like cotton wool and companies came round giving loads of free samples and you sign up to get things every month.
Discharged, had to go back to get stitches checked as got infected (lifted kids too much).
Overall I was very happy. From what I hear got pretty similar service as private but saved a few thousand euros...
Any questions at all I can help... please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org