Guidance

Healthcare in Greece

Healthcare information for UK nationals visiting, living in or moving to Greece.

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This content was originally published on the NHS website.

Healthcare in Greece after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Greece.

There will be a gap or permanent change in how you access your healthcare if there is no deal and no agreement with Greece in place.

If you are a current S1 form holder, or a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will not be able to rely on these to access your healthcare as you do now.

If you’re living in Greece

The Hellenic Parliament has approved legislation relating to UK citizens and their family members legally residing in Greece before exit day. For more information, see the Greek Brexit website.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

  • registering to live in Greece. For information on how to register to live in Greece before Brexit please see the Greek Brexit website
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of Greece. You can find more information about the Greek National Organisation for Healthcare Services Provision (EOPYY) on the EOPYY website (in Greek)
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you are applying for residency, or if you are not eligible for local schemes

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

S1 certificate holders

Your S1 certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Greece and may mean you have to pay in full for treatment.

Studying in Greece after Brexit

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Greece and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you’re already studying in Greece before the UK leaves the EU, the UK will cover your healthcare costs for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

You are likely to need to apply for a student residency permit after Brexit. 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 need.

Get help paying for medical treatment after Brexit

During the first 6 months after Brexit, if you need medical treatment and you’re being asked to pay for it, the UK can help.

This may be through arrangements with the country you live in, or by paying your healthcare provider directly.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Using NHS services when visiting the UK

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in Greece and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

If you’re living in Greece before Brexit, you can use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you:

Returning to the UK permanently

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Greece and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Greece.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk with your insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national travelling to Greece.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Living in Greece

This information is about healthcare in Greece before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living in Greece after Brexit.

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

How to register for the Greek healthcare system

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. This is called AMKA in Greek.

You can get an AMKA number through your local citizens service centre or KEP office (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). Visit the EOPYY website (information in Greek only), where you can find information on:

  • how to access healthcare
  • contact details of EOPYY’s local offices that cover all Greek regions
  • contact details of the EOPYY-contracted doctors

S1 certificate

This information is about healthcare in Greece before Brexit. Find out about S1 certificates for UK nationals living in Greece after Brexit.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Greece and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

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

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

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. Check that you have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit. You can find more information under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Working in Greece

This information is about healthcare in Greece before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living or working in Greece after Brexit.

UK posted workers

You may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK if you are a worker posted by a UK company to Greece.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

Studying in Greece

This information is about healthcare in Greece before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals studying in Greece after Brexit.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you are a UK resident studying in Greece, your UK-issued EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad.

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read the NHS guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Visiting Greece

This information is about healthcare in Greece before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals visiting Greece after Brexit.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Greece.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You may be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC does not cover you for private treatment. 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 on the Greek healthcare system is available on the EOPYY website (in Greek), which also includes contact details of contracted doctors. The cross-border healthcare website provides this information in English.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Greece if you have a pre-existing health condition. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

The Money and Pensions Advice Service has information about buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

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

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read the NHS guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Healthcare services in Greece

Finding help in an emergency

Call 112 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance. Calls are free of charge.

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 show 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 TOMY (Local Health Units) and existing health centres (previously known as PEDY) free of charge if you have an EHIC. At PEDY units you may also be given access to a certain number of dental services, alternatively provided at limited state hospitals.

Hospitals

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
  • the TOMY (Local Health Units) and health centres
  • the hospital

For private clinics contracted with EOPYY, you will be charged with a co-payment depending on the terms of the contract. You must show your EHIC on admission.

Prescriptions

Medicines prescribed by an EOPYY-contracted doctor or a doctor of a PEDY unit can be dispensed by any pharmacy.

You will be charged about a 25% patient charge. Charges may vary depending on the illness for which the medicine 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 additional 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

See more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Published 23 September 2019