MDPI, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(17), p. 6972, 2020
Introduction: As of January 2020, 115,600 refugees remain in Greece; most are Afghani, Iraqi or Syrian nationals. This qualitative research study explores the views of key stakeholders providing healthcare for refugees in Greece between 2015 and 2018. The focus was on identifying key barriers and facilitators to healthcare access for refugees in Greece. Methods: 16 interviewees from humanitarian and international organisations operating in Greece were identified through purposive and snowball sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted between March and April 2018. Data were analysed using the Framework Method. Results: Key themes affecting healthcare access included the influence of socio-cultural factors (healthcare expectations, language, gender) and the ability of the Greek health system to respond to existing and evolving demands; these included Greece’s ongoing economic crisis, human resource shortages, weak primary healthcare system, legal barriers and logistics. The evolution of the humanitarian response from emergency to sustained changes to EU funding, coordination and comprehensiveness of services affected healthcare access for refugees. Conclusion: The most noted barriers cited by humanitarian stakeholders to healthcare access for refugees in Greece were socio-cultural and language differences between refugees and healthcare providers and poor coordination among stakeholders. Policies and interventions which address these could improve healthcare access for refugees in Greece with coordination led by the EU.