According to the latest statistics, 571 GPs, 1,900 specialists and 202 pediatricians have signed to join the GESY healthcare system to date. The system has been in operation for two years now, and overall, I think this aspect of Cyprus’s social reform has been successful.
I want to update you on the features and practices of the health system and cost contributions to the system so that you have all the current information at your fingertips.
What health services are provided on GESY?
- Personal doctors’ healthcare provision
- Specialist doctors’ healthcare provision (all specialisms, including rare conditions)
- Medicine products
- Laboratory tests
- Inpatient hospital and clinic provision
- Healthcare for accidents and emergencies (some A & E state and private hospital departments accepted to join the system in November this year but this has now been postponed due to the pandemic)
- Ambulance services
- Health professionals’ services like nurses, midwifes, clinical psychologists, dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists (this is very beneficial, as previously these services were only really available privately and were very expensive)
- Dentistry (preventative work)
- Cancer care and rehabilitation
Who can benefit from GESY?
- Permanent resident Europeans and their family members
- Non-EU citizens (such as the British) who are permanent residents in Cyprus and require treatment, and also their family members
How much are the contributions?
Pensioners and employees contribute 2.65% payment and the state pays 4.70%. The contributions are collected by the tax and social insurance departments.
You can access all the healthcare services GESY provides once you have enrolled on the GHS (Gesy Health Service) portal and registered for the personal doctor that you choose.
My British friends selected their doctor on the basis of which is closest to where they live. The personal doctor that you choose, though, is always the first contact that you will have, whatever treatment service you need. So you cannot choose the health service you think you need – you always have to be guided in your choice by your personal doctor.
However, you are free to choose the actual specialist doctor, lab, hospital or private or public health provider that you wish – as long as they are registered with GESY. Or, you can private if you wish, despite being with the GESY system, but this involves a higher cost.
There are small additional payments on the GESY system for outpatient services. For example, you will pay €1 per medicine product on a prescription, €1 per laboratory test and €6 per visit to an outpatient specialist doctor. However, all inpatient hospitalisations and health care, as well as accessing your personal doctor is free of charge.
Before GESY, visiting my GP used to cost €50 per time, and when I had to take my children to their pediatrician for child vaccinations, it used to cost €70 per time – so these are big savings!
During the current coronavirus pandemic, the GESY system has proved its worth even more. Many elderly people have visited their personal doctor to receive the Covid-19 vaccinations and this service is now free of charge, compared to a couple of years ago.
So generally, I think the new GESY healthcare system here in Cyprus is a valuable government initiative. It was definitely needed because before it was introduced, the public had to rely on costly private healthcare that was based on medical insurance policies. The full implementation of the GESY system has been delayed due to the pandemic, and I think it will be prove to be a good asset to Cyprus when the system can fully unfold.