Healthcare access in people with functional diversity: A comparative health study between greece and spain
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Maastricht University Governance and Leadership in European Public Health Master, Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands Sorbonnelaan 178 C16, 2467 LK Maastricht Netherlands
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1414
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held more than 15 years ago. Contrary to Spain, equitable access to health services for people with functional diversity is still far from being a reality in Greece. The aim of this study is to identify the barriers and factors that influence the high Unmet Needs for Medical Examination or Treatment (UNME/T) among people with functional diversity in Greece and explore what can be learned from Spain.

In October 2022, a literature review was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and grey literature using keywords such as "health services"; "healthcare"; "disability"; “access”; “policy”; "Spain"; and "Greece". Furthermore, the UNME/T indicator in people with functional diversity was compared between Spain and Greece from 2012 to 2021. The data was extracted from Eurostat and disaggregated by sex.

The percentage of UNME/T reported in Greece exceeded by 7 times the UNME/T in Spain in 2021. The difference in UNME/T between men and women with functional diversity is significatively higher in the Greek population than in the Spanish (2.7 vs. 0.2). Both countries shared communicative barriers regarding access to health information by the government, health institutions, and medical professionals. However, Greece specifically faced access obstacles regarding infrastructure, financial support, and social stigma. In contrast, Spain showed barriers to the healthcare waiting list and stigma in decision-making. While the Spanish healthcare system has been characterized by high access to primary care, the Greek system is still developing. Additionally, healthcare access in Greece was affected by budget cuts.

Strengthening primary care through a budget increase for health is paramount to reduce the medical unmet needs in people with functional diversity in Greece. Furthermore, developing intersectoral interventions to attend the health necessities in women are crucial to close the gender gap.

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