CYPRUS: New healthcare system still looks a little under the weather

17 April, 2019 | Posted By: Michael Doherty

EXPATS living in Cyprus have been watching, with some concern, the hesitant advance of the new General Healthcare System (GHS).

Their first question - will it ever arrive? - now seems to have been answered. Slowly but surely, GHS is on the way.

But other concerns remain. Will it work? Will it really be of any use to expats? Will it provide as much cover as a private health plan?

Evidently these worries are shared by many Cypriots.
A poll on the upcoming scheme has revealed widespread doubts about the quality of the healthcare it will offer and concerns about the way it will operate.

study, conducted by Cypronetwork Ltd, found that 51 per cent of respondents believed the GHS would be ineffective, and 60 per cent doubted if it would be ready on schedule.

On the plus side,
77 per cent thought that issues which have been holding up the scheme would be resolved.

These issues mainly concern the participation of private doctors in the scheme and whether they will be allowed to continue private practice outside it.

The survey was
commissioned by the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA), the group that represents the interests of private doctors. So perhaps there should be a health warning attached to some of its findings.

But, in fairness, it must be said that the answers cannot all have been to the CyMA’s liking.

The doctors will have been pleased to learn that “more than six out of ten Cypriots believe that the ministry must propose amendments to the legislation in order to persuade [private] doctors and hospitals to join (64 per cent)”.

They will have been less pleased to discover that
34 per cent completely disagreed with doctors being allowed to conduct private practice in conjunction with participating in the GHS.

On healthcare in general the survey reflected a lack of confidence in the public system.  Some
22 per cent described public healthcare here as very bad, 28 per cent as bad, 17 per cent as good and only six per cent as very good. By contrast, 51 per cent described private healthcare as good and only six per cent as bad.

So if you are an expat pondering whether to stick with a private scheme, I think this gives you your answer.

In any case, it is my firm belief that all aspects of expat life, including health care, should be planned for in the round. Good planning is essential.

This is particularly true for those who have retired here or are thinking of doing so. It will all go wrong if you find that cost of essentials has left you with insufficient funds to pay for the little luxuries that drew you abroad in the first place.

You need to make a list of your priorities - including, obviously, health - and check it against your present and future income.

The Woodbrook Group can help you set a plan for getting and keeping your finances in shape and ensuring that your income matches your expectations.
We are not owned by any financial institution or life insurance company.

This makes us different from the majority of financial advisory companies and means we can offer you unbiased and impartial advice tailored to your individual requirements.

We most certainly do not offer medical advice, but we can make sure you are able to afford that advice and care whenever you need it.