The Cyprus healthcare system is divided into public and private sectors. Public healthcare is either inexpensive or free, at least for citizens of the EU, and even private healthcare costs can be relatively affordable.
Both state-funded and private hospitals can be found in all of Cyprus's major cities. Doctors working in both sectors of the medical industry are often trained overseas and most, if not all, speak an acceptable level of English.
There is a big difference between going on holiday and living abroad for any length of time. Having the correct cover will ensure you avoid getting caught short. This is why many expats and second home owners choose the security of health insurance.
Public healthcare in Cyprus
Public healthcare in Cyprus is administered by the Ministry of Health and financed by taxes. Expats who are permanent residents in Cyprus or EU citizens are eligible for free state healthcare. Expats can receive a state medical card when they register for social insurance.
Non-EU residents who are unable to take advantage of state health benefits, or expats who prefer to take out private health insurance, should pay careful attention to the healthcare plan they sign up for.
Many expats choose to take out a private healthcare policy to access a wider variety of hospitals and facilities, and to skip the public sector's occasionally long waiting lists.
You need to understand what private healthcare gives you access to and an idea of costs. You may well find that an International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) is the best way to bring you peace of mind
IPMI is all about your health and ensuring that you are in safe hands. Travel insurance is not enough if you’re planning to build a new life abroad, or if you divide your time between homes in different countries.
As with all insurance it is generally better if you don’t need to use it but if you do, having the right plan in place could literally be a lifesaver.
Pharmacies in Cyprus
There are pharmacies all over Cyprus that are typically open from 9am until 1pm, then re-open from 3pm to 6pm or 7pm. Some may not open at all in the middle of the week.
Expats requiring a prescription for controlled substances in Cyprus should bring an original script/prescription with them. Foreign prescriptions are not officially recognised and some pharmacists may refuse to accept them, although it is possible that some will. In cases where prescriptions are not accepted, expats should book an appointment with a local doctor.
Emergency services in Cyprus
There are nationwide emergency services in Cyprus, but they can be inconsistent and relatively slow. Expats often rely on neighbours and friends to drive them to hospital in non-critical situations.
Some private hospitals have their own ambulance services, but charge for transporting patients.