Greece in the sunny south of Europe is considered as a cradle of the modern western civilisation in fields such as politics, culture and – last but not least – medicine. Hippocrates of Cos, arguably the most famous physician in European history, is regarded as the “father of medicine” as a rational science. Countless medical graduates have taken the Hippocratic Oath – and its derivatives – to assure that they will uphold certain ethical standards for best medical care. Until today, the Greek healthcare system enjoys a distinguished international reputation. Hence doctors trained in Greece have good career opportunities also beyond their home country.
How to become a doctor
Undergraduate medical studies at Greek universities last 6 years. Study places are free of charge and highly competitive. Thereafter, most graduates complete a one-year paid internship (“Agrotiko”) in hospitals, health centres or surgeries. Following this internship doctors may complete specialty training (4-7 years depending on the specialty).
As in most other countries around the globe, practising medicine in Greece requires a public medical licence. The application needs to be submitted to the regional health department of the local prefectures. In addition, all licensed doctors in Greece have to register with a local medical chamber of the city or region, where the doctor wishes to practise medicine.
Hurdles for foreign doctors
EU/EEA qualified doctors benefit from automatic recognition of their basic and specialty medical qualifications within the limits of EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Doctors qualified outside the EU/EEA need to obtain a certification of equivalence of their degree, issued by the Athens-based Hellenic National Academic Recognition and Information Center “Hellenic NARIC” (DOATAP certificate); this normally requires the passing of several exams. Unlike their EU colleagues, non-EU doctors also need a residency and work permit and – when registering with the local medical chamber – a detailed list of the curriculum of their medical studies (in Greek).
Certified Greek language skills – including for medical terminology – are required to practise medicine in the public healthcare sector. Under the Greek Law 1599/86 foreign doctors need to declare that they assume full personal responsibility for anything that may occur due to insufficient knowledge of Greek language.