This Health care in Crete page is from the Living in Crete section of the Completely Crete website.
Crete has, in our opinion, excellent health care facilities. The staff, the standard of service given, cleanliness and up-to-date facilities sometimes exceed those offered by the UK health service.
British and other EU nationals are entitled to free medical services under the reciprocal health care agreements by using the
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
But the consequences of the Brexit on reciprocal health care is not known at this time.
For general medical and health advice for holidaymakers see
Health Care Advice for travellers to Crete and Greece.
For those retired, working or just living in Crete see
reciprocal health care agreements
You’re not required to register with a particular doctor in Crete or Greece in general. You may choose a doctor in Crete or specialist from the approved IKA list. If you need to see a specialist you don’t need a referral from your doctor. Doctors tend to speak perfect English and have immaculate surgeries and waiting rooms.
You can choose which dentist in Crete to see and you do not have to register with them. If you’re not covered by IKA or private health insurance and have to pay for your treatment it tends to work out about half the cost as in the UK for the same treatment.
In a medical emergency you should phone 166 for an ambulance. Emergency treatment is free to all those with IKA or other insurance and is a very high standard. You rarely have to wait too long to be seen and simple blood tests or x-rays are carried out swiftly and cost around 3 euros each.
Specialists are called in on demand and we have yet to meet anyone who has not been seen and treated within 1 – 2 hours. Compare that to the accident and emergency health service in the UK when 4 hour waits, before being seen, let alone treated are commonplace!
If you need to stay in hospital bear in mind that there is no nursing service as such. Crete hospitals expect the nursing to be arranged by the family of the patient. There are no fixed visiting hours either which allows for family members to attend to the patents needs. This can sometimes lead to busy and noisy wards.
Pharmacies in Crete
Pharmacists are highly qualified in Greece and you can obtain treatment for minor ailments at chemists as well as medical advice. They can dispense, without the need for a doctor’s prescription, a far wider range of drugs than in the UK for example. We’ve not met a pharmacist who doesn’t speak excellent English.
Pharmacies are plentiful in Crete and there seems to be one on every street corner. This is just as well as supermarkets do not sell any medicines at all, so you can't even pick up so much as a packet of aspirin while out shopping.
If you have private health insurance, (or money to burn), then there are a number of private clinics that can offer a high standard of health care. Unlike the Greek state hospitals, the private clinics offer nursing care plus private rooms.
There are private health insurance polices you can take out in the UK for health cover for ex-pats. Or you can choose from the many insurance companies in Greece offering a wide choice of private health policies.
The British Embassy in Athens provides helpful information in the event of the death of a British national in Crete or Greece. For more information on standard procedures, repatriation, local burials, inquests, autopsies etc, click here.
Other nationalities can seek out advice from their relevant Embassy or Consulate.
You can't help but notice the many cultural and religious traditions that impact upon the lives and deaths of the Cretans. The traditions and customs associated with a Cretan funeral are dominated by the Greek Orthodox Church practice and intermingle with the local customs...more.
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