Health care for beneficiaries

Cyprus

Country Report: Health care for beneficiaries Last updated: 08/04/22

Author

Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

As of the 1 June 2019, a National Health System (GESY), is in effect for the first time in Cyprus, introducing major differences in the provision of health care services. The new system introduces the concept of the personal GP in the community as a focal point for referrals to all specialised doctors. A network of private practitioners, pharmacies, and diagnostic centres have been set-up in order for health services to be provided, and in June 2020, a number of private hospitals are also expected to join the new health system for in-hospital treatment. For most of the population (Cypriots and EU citizens) in Cyprus, health services are now provided almost exclusively under the new health system.

Beneficiaries of international protection are included in the new health system. The transition to the new health system was, however, not smooth due to various coordination challenges between the appointed relevant governmental departments, a lack of translated material in the language of beneficiaries and confusion among medical and hospital staff in regard to refugees’ rights to health care.

The situation has since improved, but a major obstacle remains for beneficiaries of international protection before they receive their residence permit, which is challenging as such a period often exceeds 6 months. During this time, persons cannot access health services through GESY, but only under the previous health system.

Beneficiaries of international protection have access to the schemes of the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, operating under the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. These schemes include various types of allowances and access to care and technical means. Since May 2018, following a decision of the Council of Ministers, international protection holders are granted access to the allowance scheme provided to HIV positive persons.[1]

Beneficiaries of International Protection are included in the National COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. Initially, access to vaccinations was offered via appointment on the online GESY portal only, which at times was challenging for beneficiaries due to language barriers and low digital skills. NGOs provided assistance in such cases. From September 2021 onwards, vaccinations are offered at walk-in centres where no appointment is needed.

 

[1]           Council of Ministers, Decision 908/2018 of 30 May 2018, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/2VRPo7O.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation