Medical tourism in Greece – investment opportunities
According to a survey of the European Commission, almost 50% of Europeans would like to be treated abroad. And their number is growing: according to forecasts of the Radiant Insights company, the global market for medical tourism from 2017 to 2021 will grow annually by 12.55%. Most often, patients go abroad for two reasons: the necessary type of treatment is not available in their home country or foreign clinics offer a higher quality of services.
Medical tourism is one of the priorities for Greece, the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) has included it in the strategic development plan until 2021. According to George Patoulis, President of the Athens Medical Association, not only Europeans come to Greece today, but also tourists from the Middle East (UAE and Israel), Australia and the USA.
One of the main advantages of Greece over other European countries is the combination of an affordable price and high quality medical services. According to Panayotis Papangelopoulos, professor of the orthopedics department at the University of Athens, if in the USA a patient with sarcoma of the femur spends more than 400 thousand euros for treatment, in Greece this amount will be from 25 thousand to 30 thousand euros. The cost of dental services in the largest dental clinics of Athens and Thessaloniki is about one and a half times lower than in other countries of Europe and the USA.
Greek specialists have an excellent professional reputation abroad: many of them work in the UK, Germany, Cyprus, France and Switzerland. The number of doctors per capita is one of the highest in Europe: according to the OECD for 2015, Greece has almost twice the number of medical workers per capita (6.3 per thousand population) than the average in the participating countries organizations (3.4 per 1 thousand population).
work permits abroad issued to Greek doctors since 2010
An important part of treatment in another country is a comfortable living environment. In Greece, there are 300 sunny days a year, in winter the temperature rarely drops below +10 ° C, and the average temperature in summer is from +26 to +29 ° C. In combination with comfortable humidity (about 60%) and fresh sea breezes, such conditions have a beneficial effect on health. According to WHO, the concentration of suspended particles in the air (PM 2.5) in Greece is about two times lower than in Thailand, a third – than in Italy, and a quarter – than in Malta.
The Mediterranean type of food, which is based on the traditional diet of the inhabitants of the island of Crete and southern Italy, prevents the development of heart disease and normalizes cholesterol levels. It is based on fruits, vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, rice, beans, nuts, chickpeas, lentils, herbs and olive oil. This diet is rich in nutrients and fiber, beneficial to the body. according to Eurostat, Greece is considered one of the leaders in Europe in terms of the volume of tomatoes and fruits grown.
The average life expectancy in Greece is higher than in most European countries: men live an average of 78 years – 5 years longer than most Europeans, and women – 83 years against an average European figure of 80 years (in Russia, the average life expectancy of men is 65 years, women – 76 years).
What and where is treated?
One of the most sought-after destinations for which foreigners come to Greece is in vitro fertilization (or IVF). A special agency controls the scientific, legal and ethical aspects of the procedure and issues licenses to clinics – there are about 50 of them in Greece. The cost of the course varies from an average of 5 thousand to 6 thousand euros – this is several times cheaper than in the UK or the USA.
In Greece, the IVF procedure can be done up to 50 years boggy22 / Depositphotos
Another popular area is dialysis. In Greece, more than 50 institutions where they carry out this procedure, including in such popular resorts as Kalamata, Crete, Meteora, Rhodes and Santorini. For 15 years, the clinic has attracted more than 20 thousand foreign patients with kidney diseases: British, Germans, Danes, Swedes, Dutch, Italians, Belgians, Americans, Australians. The cost of this procedure in Greece is lower than in other competitive areas: Spain and Turkey.
Many foreigners come to Greece to do plastic surgery. Popular services in this sector are breast augmentation, face lift and liposuction.
Athens Medical Group, Hygeia, Iaso, Mitera and Interbalkan Medical Center – in Thessaloniki are considered to be the largest clinics working with foreign patients in Athens.
In addition, in Greece there are about 850 thermal springs. Bathing in them relieves stress, fatigue and helps in the treatment of a number of ailments. For example, skin and musculoskeletal diseases are treated all year round in the radon waters of Lake Vuliagmeni (25 km south of the center of Athens), from April to October at the Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort on the Halkidiki peninsula.