Information on healthcare in Cyprus

healthcare in cyprus

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Different countries have different healthcare systems, and the things you get free of charge on the NHS may not be available when you travel overseas. In many cases, you will be required to make a contribution of some kind to the cost of your medical care. It pays to be fully prepared for the cost of healthcare before travelling abroad, so here’s all you need to know about healthcare in Cyprus.

Visiting Cyprus

Getting emergency help

EHIC for medical emergency in CyprusIf you have a medical emergency in Cyprus or find yourself in need of the emergency services, the number to call is 112. There is no charge for dialling this number, even if you are calling from a mobile phone. Operators in Cyprus can communicate with you in English, and if you are not able to tell them your location than can geo-locate you.

Here are some other important numbers to take note of:

  • 1400 – hospital information
  • 1401 – drug, narcotics and poison-related emergencies
  • 1441 – air and sea rescue
  • 90 90 1432 – on-call doctors
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Healthcare before Brexit

Emergency medical treatment in Cyprus is available for anyone who requires urgent attention. If you don’t have a European Health Insurance Card, you should expect to be charged in full for any treatment you receive. You should make sure you purchase sufficient travel insurance and have access to adequate funds to cover any medical treatment you may require while in Cyprus. Remember to retain all paperwork and receipts relating to medical treatment – take copies if necessary. These might be needed for you or your insurance company to apply for any reimbursements available.

As it stands, the EHIC qualifies you for the necessary state-provided medical care in Cyprus at a discounted rate – sometimes even for free – if you are staying in the country on a temporary basis. If a healthcare provider asks you to pay upfront for your care, you are probably not being treated under the state healthcare system.

There are certain costs that are not covered by the EHIC. These include:

  • Mountain rescue
  • Private treatment
  • Transport back to the UK
  • Cruises

Take care when accessing healthcare that is arranged by a hotel or travel representative. While they are likely to reassure you that you will be able to claim back any expenses you incur, this is only true where there is private cover in place, or where treatment is accessed via the EHIC. Any costs associated with private healthcare cannot be reimbursed.

Provisional replacement certificates (PRC)

You may have encountered a reference to PRCs in your research about healthcare when travelling to Cyprus. A PRC is simply paperwork that demonstrates your entitlement to EHIC. If you require medical assistance but your EHIC is not in your possession, you can contact Overseas Healthcare Services and request a PRC to be sent to the appropriate hospital. This will help you avoid being charged directly.

You can contact Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 191 218 1999 from outside the UK or 0191 218 1999 inside the UK. Lines are open 08:00 to 18:00 UK time, Monday to Friday.

If you have a pre-existing health condition

Anyone with a pre-existing health condition should purchase travel insurance before heading out to Cyprus. You must inform your insurance company of ANY pre-existing health conditions you may have to ensure your policy isn’t void when you need to make a claim. If you have an EHIC, this remains valid until the date the UK departs from the EU, but it may become invalid after that.

Any pre-existing condition that will require treatment while you are abroad should be discussed with your doctor before travelling. You will need to ensure you have the necessary documentation about your condition and/or medication before visiting another country.

If your reason for travelling is to receive specific medical treatment, you should ensure you have done all the necessary homework about what will be required of you.

Bringing medicines into Cyprus

Certain prescription medications contain substances that are under the strict controls of the Misuse of Drugs regulations in the United Kingdom. When this is the case, there are extra legal controls that apply to these medications. Travelling with them without taking the necessary precautions could land you in serious trouble while you are abroad, so don’t ignore your obligations.

It may be necessary for you to acquire a personal licence to be able to take controlled medications overseas. There will also be specific requirements in relation to the way you carry your medications and the information that you must carry with you.

There is detailed information about this topic on the GOV.UK website.

Treatment in hospital

Similar to the system in the UK, you will need a referral from a doctor to receive any hospital treatment that isn’t an emergency. This includes things like getting an X-ray, seeing a urologist or being assessed by a psychiatrist. Upon being admitted into hospital, you will need to present a valid EHIC card if you want your treatment to come at the same cost as for a Cyprus resident. If you don’t have one, you will incur higher costs for your treatment.

There is a comprehensive list of state hospitals in Cyprus provided by the Ministry of Health.

Prescriptions

Most pharmacies in Cyprus are open between 09:00 and 12:00, then they reopen at 15:00 until either 18:00 or 19:00. Some pharmacies will not open in the middle of the week.

If you don’t own a Cypriot medical card and lack any alternative means of cover, you will be charged the complete cost of a prescription.

There are 24-hour pharmacies available in every region. You can find out more by calling the following numbers:

  • Ammochostos: 90 90 1413
  • Larnaca: 90 90 1414
  • Limassol: 90 90 1415
  • Nicosia: 90 90 1412
  • Paphos: 90 90 1416

It is helpful to have information to hand about 24-hour pharmacies in Cyprus, because of the irregular opening hours of ordinary pharmacies. If you need to collect medication or get specific medicines out of hours, having that information to hand is extremely useful.

After Brexit

The details regarding your access to healthcare when visiting Cyprus may change if the UK leaves the EU with no deal in place. If you have plans to visit Cyprus after Brexit, you should proceed to buy travel insurance just as you would now if you were visiting a country outside the EU. This will ensure you still get access to the healthcare you need.

If you currently use an EHIC issued in the UK, this will be valid until the date the UK leaves the EU. The British government is in the process of making arrangements with individual countries, including Cyprus, in relation to healthcare arrangements after Brexit.

Look out for new information on travelling to Cyprus as more of the details are determined.

For working in Cyprus

Healthcare up until Brexit

If you relocate to Cyprus for work, you will be required to apply for a residence permit via the Ministry of the Interior Republic of Cyprus. You can acquire the form MEU1A from your local immigration office in the country.

Once you are registered, and your eligibility is confirmed, you can apply for a Cypriot Medical card. You can find information and application forms on the Cypriot Ministry of Health website.

In 2013, a small charge was introduced for treatment for the majority of citizens and permanent residents in Cyprus. The charging system includes €3 for visiting a GP, €6 when you visit a specialist, and €0.50 for every prescribed medication. Some of these charges are higher for anyone who doesn’t hold a medical card. A visit to a GP will be €15, while a visit to a specialist will set you back €30. You can also expect a fee of €10 for emergency treatment in an A&E unit. There are more details about the charges on the Cypriot Ministry of Health website.

If you are posted to work in Cyprus by a British company, you may qualify for health cover in Cyprus funded by the UK. Contact HMRC for further information.

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Looking beyond Brexit

If you are eligible for permanent or temporary residency in Cyprus, you will be required to make contributions towards social insurance and obtain a medical card. Alternatively, you can take out private healthcare insurance. If you don’t do these things, you will not be entitled to the healthcare that Cypriot nationals receive.

If you have lived in Cyprus continuously for 5+ years, you may qualify for permanent residency. You will need to make an application at a cost of €30. The application process takes around 6 months on average to complete.

If you are not entitled to social insurance, there are a number of private health insurance schemes you can choose from. The health system in Cyprus is currently undergoing some changes. It would be wise to do some reading about the General Healthcare System that is in operation in Cyprus.

It is not a legal requirement to have health insurance if you are living in Cyprus, however, anyone who doesn’t have insurance will be charged directly for any services they receive.

For pensioners in Cyprus

If you are in receipt of an exportable UK pension, or another exportable benefit, and are living in Cyprus, you may qualify for state healthcare that is paid for by the UK. To receive this, you will have to apply for an S1 certificate of entitlement.

This may require you to liaise with a different team depending on which exportable benefit you receive. There is more information about this on the GOV.UK website. There are different rules regarding healthcare cover for different exportable benefits.

The S1 certificate (formerly E106)

The S1 certificate helps you access medical care in Cyprus. A current S1 will be valid up until the date the UK leaves the EU, but it may not be valid any longer after this date. This will depend on decisions by member states, but you should continue applying for an S1 certificate until Brexit is complete.

Eligibility for an S1 depends on whether you are in receipt of certain UK benefits, including pensions, and whether you have paid contributions throughout your life in the UK.

Applications for an S1 certificate are made through the Business Services Authority.

Looking beyond Brexit

medical care as Cypriot nationalsIf you are able to present evidence that you have sufficient resources to sustain yourself, you can submit an application for a temporary residence permit. Anyone who has lived continuously in Cyprus for a period of 5 or more years may be able to apply for a permanent residency. The application requires payment of €30 and takes around 6 months to complete.

You will only be entitled to the same medical care as Cypriot nationals if you make regular contributions to social insurance and have a valid medical card. If you aren’t eligible for social insurance, there are various private insurance schemes you can choose from.

Having healthcare insurance isn’t a legal requirement in Cyprus, but if you aren’t covered by insurance you will be required to pay directly for any medical services you receive.

For students in Cyprus

If you are a UK resident living and studying in Cyprus, and you are in possession of an EHIC, this will remain valid up until the date the UK departs from the EU. It is a good idea to proceed to purchase health insurance in addition to your EHIC to ensure you have adequate coverage.

After the UK and the EU part ways, you should definitely continue to take out private insurance to cover your medical care. This should be carried out in the same way as if you were travelling to a country outside of the EU now.

It is important to be fully aware of the healthcare systems of any country you are visiting before travelling there. Failure to be prepared leaves you vulnerable to being unable to access treatment when you need it, and can even land you in legal trouble in some circumstances.

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