Source of Pride
The private health sector in Cyprus is on a roll. The quality of care provided on this island of less than a million people ranks amongst the highest in the western world, whilst in certain fields of medical research Cyprus can legitimately claim to be a world leader.
The quality of private health care in Cyprus is second to none, and in certain areas of medical research this small island is a world leader. Health care is provided by both the state and the private sector, with an impressive 74 private hospitals and clinics.
Substantial investment in state health provision has meant that procedures such as kidney transplants and open heart surgery, which once necessitated a journey overseas, are now routinely carried out within Cyprus. The sector generates around 6% of GDP and employs 4.2% of the workforce.
The presence of numerous prestigious private health care facilities further enhances the island’s reputation as a centre for medical excellence and highlights the opportunities available to foreign investors. The American Heart Institute in Nicosia is one such state-of-the-art facility, offering adult cardiology, cardiothoracic and spinal surgery, general surgery, neurology and transplant medicine. Another specialist institution, the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre, recently began a three-year €17 million programme to upgrade its facilities, while an international oncology centre is soon to open in Paphos.
In recognition of the fact that e-Health will become a vital component of health care provision in the coming years, the Ministry of Health has also embarked on a seven-year programme to computerise medical provision and develop an integrated health monitoring system. This will include the introduction of electronic health records, the expansion of medical services to remote areas via telemedicine and robotics, and access to international medical data banks.
Cyprus’ well-equipped and sophisticated medical infrastructure has also turned the island into a centre for health tourism, a market which already accounts for approximately 2.5% of international tourism revenue, with an estimated overall value of €60 to €120 million per annum. The majority of medical tourists come from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and the Middle East. Most seek either dental or cosmetic procedures. Increasing numbers visit Cyprus for fertility treatment, while the island is gaining a reputation for other specialist procedures such as cancer surgery, minimally invasive spinal surgery and facial reconstruction.
The postgraduate Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course at the University of Nicosia (launched autumn 2011) combines the convenience of training within Cyprus, with the tradition of international expertise. The course arose from a unique collaboration between the University of Nicosia and St George’s Hospital (University of London) and it is expected that in time its graduates will make a significant contribution to medical research.
Pioneering research work is already being undertaken at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, which has developed a ground-breaking, non-invasive prenatal test for Down Syndrome. The calibre of health care in Cyprus is truly remarkable. The combination of internationally experienced personnel, advanced technological capabilities, and cost-effective, world class medical services mean that this sector will continue to flourish and expand.
Updated July 2013