Nursing Care AND Research
“Unhealthy” integration: Inequalities of immigrants’ access to health services in Greece and policy recommendations for their elimination”
Theodoros Fouskas, Lecturer, New York College / Lab. Ass., TEI of Athens
Charalambos Economou, Associate Professor, Panteion University
Theodoros D. Sakellaropoulos, Professor, Panteion University
Konstantinos Varsamidis, Professor, TEI of Thessaloniki
Scientific Journal, 3 Issues per Year — Period: September – December 2014 — Vol: 40 — Issue: 3 — Pages: 214-235
Published by the Greek Nursing Studies Association (GNSA) — ISSN 22413960
INTRODUCTION: Inequalities in access to health services comprise a complex problem faced particularly by immigrants in all European Union countries. However, although it is a common problem there is no uniform policy in the management of immigrants with respect to their access to health services.
AIM: Policy recommendations to eliminate inequalities in access to health services by immigrants in Greece.
METHODOLOGY: Review of international and Greek scientific literature and analysis of reports and case studies.
RESULTS: The research experience emphasizes that services which are open to members of immigrant groups are included in an elliptical system of social policy which fails to address significant claims and fields of social protection. The sketchy nature of the system of social policy restricts the ability to respond effectively to the specific needs that result from the presence of immigrant populations and the pressures on existing structures for social services. The Hellenic institutional framework for migrants’ access to health services is largely restrictive and in the case of those who do not have legal documents, borders on institutional exclusion from the health system.
CONCLUSION: There is a dire need to strengthen the legal basis for the protection of immigrants’ rights at both national and European level, to extend the institution of intercultural mediators in health services and to develop information material translated into the languages of immigrants which would provide guidance on key health behaviors, the treatment of diseases and the orientation of patients within the health system.
KEYWORDS: immigrants, inequalities, rights, access, health services, Greece