King's researchers find omens of a Greek health tragedy

Alexander E. Kentikelenis

Alexander Kentikelenis

David Stuckler

Dr David Stuckler

The economic crisis is damaging the health of Greek people says a team that includes two Kingsmen: former graduate student Dr. David Stuckler and current graduate student Alexander Kentikelenis.

The team set out to find the effects of the economic crisis on the health of the Greeks. They looked at EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions as well as reports from NGOs and medical research institutes, and have just published their findings in The Lancet.

They found what they call 'omens of a Greek tragedy' - a deterioration in public health due to the economic crisis unfolding in the country.

Admissions to public hospitals rose 24% in 2010 compared to 2009, yet hospital budgets have been cut by 40%. Understaffing and occasional shortages have been reported.

In addition, suicides rose by 40% in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. The researchers also reported a sharp rise in HIV infections, especially among injecting drug users.

They conclude that, 'Greater attention to health and health-care access is needed to ensure that the Greek crisis does not undermine the ultimate source of the country's wealth—its people.'

For details see the Lancet paper. The paper has been widely reported in the international media, and is covered by the BBC and The Guardian.

24 October 2011