The World Health Organisation through its European agencies, WHO/Europe, and WHO Athens Quality of Care Office and the WHO Country Office in Greece, has joined forces with Greece's Ministry of Health to assess the state of hospitals in the country.
Over the last 3 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many hospitals, challenging them and exposing gaps in their structures and systems.
In April 2022, WHO convened a high-level expert meeting in Brussels, Belgium, to identify the key challenges hospitals face and to discuss the necessary changes to improve and prepare hospitals for future threats and crises. The expert discussions explored critical areas where more work is needed and future hospital policies, including those related to governance, financing and planning. Next, the discussions were expanded to specific countries such as Greece.
Visit to Greek Hospitals
Between 5 and 7 September 2022, a team of WHO and health-care experts visited several facilities across Athens to assess the state of hospitals in the capital.
Dr Alexandre Lourenço, Hospital Administrator at Coimbra Hospital and University Centre in Portugal, and Professor Siniša Varga, former Minister of Health of Croatia, supported this mission, contributing to dialogues with Greek authorities and providing recommendations on best practices to address needs and gaps.
“Hospitals across Europe face tremendous challenges in delivering quality care. However, the development of hospital networks according to needs, volumes and levels of complexity, and concentration of highly specialized and advanced services, has the potential to improve services,” said Dr Lourenço.
Dr João Breda, Head of the WHO Athens Quality of Care Office, explained, “These site visits, together with our study of the most effective and efficient way to organize hospital distribution and functioning across the country, will facilitate decision-making and support hospital transformation, enhancing the quality of care and patient safety in Greece.”
Following the visits, WHO/Europe and its expert partners will assess the capacity and performance of these hospitals, including the availability of general and specialty hospitals, and hospital beds.
The governance of hospitals, including their internal structures, referral systems and networks, will be part of this assessment. A report summarizing the findings from this study will be handed to the Greek Ministry of Health to chart a new way forward.