Travelling to Cyprus and Healthcare
Cyprus has long been a popular destination with UK holidaymakers, and joined the EU in 2004. In recent years the north of Cyprus, which was invaded by Turkey in 1974, has gradually opened up to tourism, although the majority of visitors still visit the resorts of the south. If you are planning a holiday to Cyprus it is important to know which part of the island you are visiting, as different rules apply to each.
EHIC in Cyprus
If you are travelling to Northern Cyprus, EHIC coverage will not apply and you will have to ensure you are properly covered by travel insurance. In the majority of the country EHIC arrangements are recognised, and you will be treated on the same basis as a Cypriot citizen. EHIC will only cover you for treatment from a provider which is part of the Cypriot Ministry of Health system. Since 2013, there have been charges introduced for seeing a doctor or for hospital treatments. Rates are lower for people who have a Cypriot medical card, so this is worth considering if you are planning on being in Cyprus for an extended period. Expect to pay around 15 euros to see a GP, and 30 euros to see a hospital specialist. 10 euros will be charged for emergency treatment in hospital. Pharmacies in Cyprus are a good alternative for minor ailments. If you are covered by travel insurance you might be able to claim these fees back, so always get a receipt and itemised bill. Always check that the doctor or hospital you are using is part of the public health system – there is a full list of public healthcare providers on the Ministry of Health website and more details about charges levied for accessing healthcare. Most doctors and other healthcare professionals will speak excellent English and communication should not be a problem.
Travel Insurance for Cyprus
Although EHIC will cover you for the basics, it will not cover you for additional travel costs or disruption to your holiday should you fall ill. Depending on your insurance policy, you might also be able to claim back charges you pay under the state system. Alternatively, having your own travel insurance means you will be able to access some of the excellent private hospitals in Cyprus, and be seen quicker than being referred under the public system. Around 50% of hospitals in Cyprus are private, mainly in Limassol, Nicosia, Lanarca and Paphos. If admitted to one of these hospitals make sure you show staff your insurance documents and get someone to call your insurer on your behalf to make sure costs will be covered as these can climb quickly. It is good practice to communicate regularly by email or phone with your insurer during the time you are in hospital. Medication costs in Cyprus are government regulated, so prices in all pharmacies will be the same. If you think you may be able to claim back costs of medication from your insurer, always ask the pharmacist for a proper receipt. Many items which are prescription only in the UK are available over the counter in Cyprus, so a pharmacy is a sensible first port of call.