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Greek holiday with health problem - public health system & EHIC?

(25 Posts)
grumpyskater Sun 13-Jan-13 16:36:27

I have a deteriorating heart condition which means I can't get cover for anything heart related (been refused by all the obvious ones). We want a lazy beach holiday, thinking about Cephalonia for a week in the summer.

I'm unlikely to keel over in that particular week, but just in case I do, I'd like to know how the Greek health system is faring at the moment, given the severe budgetary constraints. Is anyone here Greek, or lives in Greece, and could give me an idea? Especially the islands.

I would ideally use my EHIC and the public health system. Obviously there could be some horrendous additional costs anyway, but is it sensible to go to Greece on holiday - when I could go elsewhere in Europe?

Any comments much appreciated

littlemefi Sun 13-Jan-13 16:47:45

Have you looked at the British Heart Foundation website?
They have info on there regarding travelling with a heart condition, getting travel insurance etc, and lots of other tips such as what type of resort/ accommodation to choose that may come in handy.

grumpyskater Sun 13-Jan-13 19:54:51

Hi little, just had a quick look at BHF - do you have a link to the relevant part of the site? Can't immediately see the info re resorts etc which could be v useful.

Madsometimes Sun 13-Jan-13 20:37:17

Have you tried All Clear? I got cover with them before heart surgery. Interestingly, they quote Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Switzerland separately. Maybe if you want a med holiday, you should look at Portugal or Italy. Personally, I would look at destinations with good health care if you think you are at risk, and would steer clear of small Greek Islands because of their size, not Greece's economy.

Madsometimes Sun 13-Jan-13 20:45:33

If you buy high risk insurance, make sure that everyone travelling is on your policy. Then if there is a problem and you need to cut short or cancel your holiday because of your pre-existing condition, everyone will be reimbursed. Don't be tempted to buy family members a cheap low risk policy.

littlemefi Sun 13-Jan-13 21:18:43

I'm not recommending the BHF for it's info on Greece, sorry! Just that it has useful info regarding travel insurance re a cardiac condition, flying etc.
I'm a cardiac nurse and aware that they can be a useful resource for people.
Saying that, I have been to Cephalonia and Zakynthos, both beautiful Greek islands; if I were in your shoes I'd be looking at how big the hospitals over there are, how far away from medical help you would be, would any travel insurance company cover you for repatriation if you did take ill, they would be things I'd want o consider.

grumpyskater Mon 14-Jan-13 17:29:31

Ha little! I won't be able to get insurance full stop, have tried quite hard previously and the idea of going thro that palaver again is not appealing! Both you and Mad make really good points re availability of healthcare. Something to ponder. Thanks to both of you.

littlemefi Mon 14-Jan-13 17:49:02

No problem! Glad to be of help, and hope you have a fab time wherever you decide to go!

Floralnomad Mon 14-Jan-13 17:52:25

My sister lives on Rhodes and would not recommend the Greek hospitals ! Although its very useful being able to buy a multitude of stuff without prescription that you need a prescription for here .

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 14-Jan-13 19:29:58

grumpy - dd has a significant heart problem and has been in varying stages of congestive heart failure over the years. We've usually managed to get cover from Able2Travel. Definitely worth a go if you've not tried them before. Otherwise I agree with the others regarding being near a decent sized hospital at the very least. You don't want to be somewhere where you've got to get a dodgy ferry before you can get seen.

dikkertjedap Mon 14-Jan-13 19:45:36

Somebody mentioned Italy, but unfortunately the economic crisis is very deep, cuts are made everywhere and the healthcare which was almost hit and miss anyway is now even more so.

Why not France? Quite close by in case repatriation is needed and brilliant health care.

cowboylover Wed 16-Jan-13 23:37:33

I have a lot of experience with the hospitals of Crete unfortunately and that's was 4 years ago before the cuts so now I really don't think I would risk it unless you are determined and willing to take the chance.

The level of what we consider to be standard basic care is in a very different place there.

France maybe as then worst thing you need to come home jump in a car and train or ferry it quickly.

cowboylover Wed 16-Jan-13 23:39:28

But the Greek islands really are wonderful if you can go!

mycatunderstandsme Thu 17-Jan-13 16:20:53

I don't know if this helps but I used the local clinic when I went to cephalonia 2 years ago as I developed severe tonsillitis.

The doctor there was really good and spoke very good english. Had no problem getting seen-just used EHIC card although I had travel insurance too but they just wanted EHIC.

Obviously had no need for a hospital so can't give you any advice there. We went back to the same place again last year when I was recovering from a major operation just in case of problems!

We stayed at Hotel Odyssey in Agia efimia and the health centre was in Sami 10 minute drive away in case you are interested. Would highly recommend both.

amillionyears Thu 17-Jan-13 16:26:43

I have recommended Insure and go on here for someone, and they ended up using it.
Insure and Go ask very sensible questions.
You can do it online,and work out the costs as you go through the online form, without actually ending up using them,or sending it.

Cant help you with the Greece hospital questions.

noddyholder Thu 17-Jan-13 16:28:36

I have cardiomypathy and Karma insurance always insure me I have other health issues too which are deemed serious and no problem for them

mutantninjamyrtle Thu 17-Jan-13 21:16:19

Try the comparison here - new Moneysupermarket comparison engine for people (like me) with a pre-existing condition:

www.moneysupermarket.com/travel-insurance/pre-existing-medical-conditions/

Our family ski insurance was a whole £5 more than it would have been if I didn't have a long term drug dependent condition and hadn't had an op to plug a holey artery 12 months ago smile

narmada Thu 17-Jan-13 22:06:40

I lived in Greece for a year - this was when the economy was in comparitive rude health. Almost all the locals sought medical treatment for anyyhing vaguely serious in Germany - including my next door neighbour who had a bypass in Munich during my time there.

Sorry sad

grumpyskater Fri 18-Jan-13 10:28:13

Update - I decided to try one insurance company just out of interest, so have spoken to Able2Travel. Phew. Have been on the phone for 40 mins so far. They can't quote yet as I haven't thought of asking my GP if I'm fit to travel. Fair enough - hope she says yes!

I'm now intrigued to see what the extra will be. I have never bothered asking before now. I think my main additional risk factor in a holiday situation is cardiac arrest (long history of ops, now poor ventricular function). Which frankly is just as likely to kill me at home ... I just want to go to Greece again! <stamps foot>

Thanks for all tips and pointers, really helpful thread. Have looked up Sami on map MyCat, it's Fiskardo we're thinking of, bit far away!

lazymum99 Fri 18-Jan-13 22:36:15

DH is Greek and goes back for frequent visits. I would not rely on their national health service it is falling apart. Even in the good days you had to pay to get decent nursing if you went in.
A couple of years ago DS1 ended up with a perforated stomach while we were on holiday in France. Now that was seriously good health care for free with EHIC. He was in hospital for 10 days after emergency surgery. Can't fault it. I would recommend the south of France for your hols

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 19-Jan-13 11:24:31

Fingers crossed you get a yes and it's a reasonable price grumpy. dd always has to get a fit to fly letter. Sounds like she has similar issues (poor LV function and previous MIs/surgery) Her consultant has just given her the all clear to go to the States for a term with university. No worries about the healthcare there but wondering if I'll need a 2nd mortgage to cover the insurance premium [gulp]

PollyLogos Sun 20-Jan-13 15:46:10

Hi Grumpyskater, I'm in Greece so hope that I can help a bit.

The health system is not in a good way and I'm sorry to tell you that on the islands it will be worse. The facilities on Cephalonia will be basic, anything serious and even the locals would go to the nearest big city hospital. Probably Patra from there, many would come straight to Athens. This means that we are talking time consuming travel, so any emergency you had will suffer from being a distance from appropriate help.

If you were a family member or friend I would say 'don't come.' Sorry

If you need any more specifics let me know and I'll do my best to help. Now I think about it i think there was a mn on Cephalonia! i'll see if I can find her.

grumpyskater Thu 24-Jan-13 12:22:06

Just seen my GP. After some thought she decided that she could say yes to the fitness to travel Q. So I now have a quote from Able2Travel, £189 for family of 3, fully insured for one week in Greece, including cancellation, excess of £70. So although it's alot, I don't think that's too bad for the peace of mind it brings.

I'm not going to look around for better quotes as the whole questioning of medical history depresses me. But will have a think about whether better to go elsewhere on the Med, given the feedback here. V grateful for all input.

PollyLogos if you're around, do you reckon having private insurance would give me access to quicker/better care, even in Cephalonia? You may have no idea!!

grumpyskater Thu 24-Jan-13 12:26:54

Realise I said I couldn't get insurance full stop in earlier posts. But it was life insurance I was talking about, a very different thing. That was always a no.

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 24-Jan-13 17:17:39

Glad you got somewhere with it grumpy.

The life insurance situation is a bit crap isn't it sad?

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