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Open AccessCommentary

The Emergency Medical System in Greece: Opening Aeolus’ Bag of Winds

Respiratory Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Biopolis, 41500 Larissa, Greece
Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
International Business Department, Perrotis College, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 745;
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
PDF [21995 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


An Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system must encompass a spectrum of care, with dedicated pre-hospital and in-hospital medical facilities. It has to be organised in such a way as to include all necessary services—such as triage accurate initial assessment, prompt resuscitation, efficient management of emergency cases, and transport to definitive care. The global economic downturn has had a direct effect on the health sector and poses additional threats to the healthcare system. Greece is one of the hardest-hit countries. This manuscript aims to present the structure of the Greek EMS system and the impact of the current economic recession on it. Nowadays, primary care suffers major shortages in crucial equipment, unmet health needs, and ineffective central coordination. Patients are also facing economic limitations that lead to difficulties in using healthcare services. The multi-factorial problem of in-hospital EMS overcrowding is also evident and has been linked with potentially poorer clinical outcomes. Furthermore, the ongoing refugee crisis challenges the national EMS. Adoption of a triage scale, expansion of the primary care network, and an effective primary–hospital continuum of care are urgently needed in Greece to provide comprehensive, culturally competent, and high-quality health care. View Full-Text
Keywords: ambulance; economic recession; emergency medical service; Greece; primary healthcare system; refugee; triage ambulance; economic recession; emergency medical service; Greece; primary healthcare system; refugee; triage

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Kotsiou, O.S.; Srivastava, D.S.; Kotsios, P.; Exadaktylos, A.K.; Gourgoulianis, K.I. The Emergency Medical System in Greece: Opening Aeolus’ Bag of Winds. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 745.

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