The thought of becoming ill on holiday can be an unnerving prospect. You should relax and enjoy your holiday though, knowing that there are many healthcare professionals on the island should you get sick.
If you’re feeling unwell a good place to visit in the first instance is your local pharmacy.
The pharmacists in Kefalonia are licensed, experienced, helpful and for the most part understand English very well. They will dispense advice or suggest things that you can try for minor ailments, but they will not hesitate to refer you to a doctor or hospital if they think it is necessary.
There are some local public doctors on the island, their schedules and locations in some areas are not well published so it may be best to ask a local for this information – your accommodation owner, receptionist or holiday rep is a good place to start. They do not have an appointment system; you must turn up and wait your turn just like the locals do – most of them are only open in the morning.
Some of the busier resorts and villages may also have a private doctor, but you will have to pay to see them. Just like the public doctors, there is no appointment system, but they do keep longer hours – some are on call 24 hours a day. If you cannot get to the doctor, they will also come to your accommodation. If you do need to see a private doctor you will need your passport and insurance details so that they can claim for any expenses directly from your insurance company.
The hospital in Kefalonia may not look great by UK standards but the staff are friendly, professional and fully qualified. If you do require an extended stay in hospital, then it is common for family and friends to look after the patients everyday needs, including feeding and cleaning them – if you are unable to do this yourself, then contact your insurance company who will help you to get a private nurse to help with such things.
You can access emergency state healthcare whilst on holiday for free, and you should always have your EHIC (or now GHIC) with you – just remember that an EHIC or GHIC is not a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance cover. You can get your GHIC through nhs.gov.uk.