When it comes to health care, there’s a relatively new kid on the block in Cyprus. GESY is the entity that now acts as the Cyprus National Health Service. It’s basically an insurance body that has taken over the general admin and system for the state. It has been running for a few months now and seems to be working well.
We have a doctor we are assigned to, our choice, at the local medical centre. We go to see him and he prescribes treatment and drugs. Our doctor prints out a list of drugs we need based on a monthly figure and we go to the pharmacist every month to collect. We rarely see our doctor unless we are ill. Previously we would be seeing him every few weeks for him just to write out a new prescription. So the new system is time saving and costs us a small fee for our monthly prescriptions. Both my wife and I have underlying health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure so we were back and forth to see the doctor on a regular basis just for repeat prescriptions. This could take anything up to 3-4 hours depending on how busy the doctor was. Now it’s a breeze and we are in and out in an hour or so once every six months.
The bill is still covered by the British NHS as it was when the UK was in the EU, so that hasn’t changed, so far. I suspect it won’t change as there are a lot of Cypriot citizens in the UK receiving the same reciprocal treatment as we, UK citizens, are receiving here in Cyprus.
The system is in its infancy but it seems to be working well.
However, when you have a specialised medical problem, like I have gall stones detected last year after an ultrasound scan when I broke my ribs, you need to be referred to a specialist. Fair enough, but that also applies to simple little things like excess wax in ears. I get this wax in ears problem on a fairly regular basis and have had to fork out €50 for each visit to the doctor to have my ears flushed out to clear the wax. In the UK this would have been done by the practice nurse. Here in Cyprus I have to see a specialist. So that’s an extra trip to Limassol. Gall stones I can understand as being specialist, but ear wax? Is that really requiring a specialist? I guess its one of those little glitches or foibles every system, health orientated or any other profession, that needs time for ironing out.
So, we move forward and play the game as we are told to by our doctors and ultimately the state. It can sometimes be a bit of a guessing game as to what treatment you get and where you get it, but it’s still a system in the making and is better than having to fork out a fortune in medical insurance.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020
Living in Cyprus as an expat has it’s lighter side, its frustrating side, its humourous side and sometimes its an emotional roller-coaster. Read all about in in my book series, Living in Cyprus.