Can Privatising Selected Services Benefit the Public Healthcare System?: The Greek Case
The evaluation of empirical data concerning private physician consultations in public hospitals in Greece suggests that privatisation of selected public services can increase patients' freedom of choice and also improve efficiency and quality of services, thus strengthening the supply side in a mixed healthcare system. The 2001 NHS health reform in Greece provides financial incentives to public hospital physicians to consult patients `privately' at the outpatient clinics, while remaining restrained by certain provisions regarding fees. Competition between public and private hospitals is centrally regulated, and in this case cumulative data show success for the public sector. At the same time, patient satisfaction with the new arrangement measured in this study was very high. It could be argued that, under certain conditions, attracting private funds into a public health system constitutes an opportunity to reinforce the public provision of the system.
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