If you are covered by IKA National Insurance in Greece - either with the reciprocal arrangements such as the European Health Card or E121 / S1 form, or by working and contributing in Greece - or another Greek National Insurance scheme (OAEE, TAXI etc) you will have access to free medical care and hospital care with doctors and specialists working in the Greek public health system - EOPYY - the National Organisation for Healthcare Provision.
If you have private health insurance you can receive treatment and tests with private doctors and health centres (clinics), depending on your policy.
Doctors and Dentists There are many GP’s and specialists in Crete who work through EOPYY, and privately.
EOPYY Doctors Once in possession of an IKA health book you will be allocated a local GP. Those with an EHIC card (see National Insurance / IKA) can see an EOPYY GP for free by contacting the local IKA office.
You can make an appointment for any specialist doctor under the EOPYY scheme by phoning 14884 or 14900 the national appointments phone lines (these lines replace the 184 phone number from 6 August 2012). Calls are charged at 0.99€ per call to 14844 and 1.08€ per call to 14900, while calls from mobiles cost 1.18€ per minute. You will be asked for your AMKA number.
Alternatively you can call any doctors' surgery directly from the list at EOPYY (In Greek - you must choose the 'Nomos', city and type of specialist required, from the drop-down list). When calling a doctor's surgery to make an appointment direct, state your insurance provider (IKA, OAEE etc) when making the appointment, in order not to be charged for the consultation and treatment.
Prescriptions given under the EOPYY scheme may be taken to any chemist where you will be charged between 10% and 25% of the full cost.
Private Doctors To see a doctor or specialist privately you normally do not need to make an appointment; go along to any doctor’s private surgery during surgery hours, wait in turn, and pay for a private consultation. Their rates are usually between 30 and 50 Euros per visit.
Dentists Limited dental treatment is free under the EOPYY scheme, which does not usually include cosmetic procedures. There are a large number of private practicing dentists in Crete, all with the latest modern equipment and their charges are very reasonable.
Hospital Emergencies For any emergency go to the Accident and Emergency Department “ΕΠΕΙΓΟΝΤΑ” at your nearest hospital. Emergency treatment in the hospitals is usually good, you rarely have to wait too long to be seen and doctors usually speak some English. You should show your health card, IKA book or private health insurance. You will be required to pay a small cost for some tests, such as x-rays (about 3 to 5 Euros each). If you don’t qualify for IKA, another social insurance or have private health insurance you will be required to pay full costs for any tests.
Hospital Doctors and IKA / EOPYY A number of doctors and specialists hold morning surgeries at the hospitals to which they are attached. Consultations are free to those with IKA or another national insurance. Contact the hospital to book an appointment direct.
Nursing The lack of nursing care in Greek state hospitals is renowned; family and friends often spend 24 hours a day at the patients' bedside nursing them. If you should be confined to bed in hospital you will normally need extra help and if you don't have a number of friends and relatives to call on you may need to employ a private nurse ('apoklistikia').
Note that hospital wards are often packed (mostly with numerous visitors at all hours) and can be very noisy.
Private Medical Insurance & Private Medical Clinics You may wish to opt for private health insurance for better rooms, treatment and nursing care. There are a number of private clinics in the main towns and large tourist resorts which boast all the latest equipment, good doctors and nursing care plus private rooms with TV and phone. The private clinics are very expensive so unless you have private health insurance the cost is prohibitive for most. There are many insurance companies in Greece offering a wide choice of private medical policies. Shop around and check what is and isn't included in various policies, then decide what cover and budget suits your needs.