Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is responsible for the provision of primary healthcare?
Primary healthcare is provided by personal doctors (PDs).
What does the term personal doctor (PD) mean?
The term PD refers to PDs for adults and PDs for children. PDs provide primary healthcare services to the beneficiaries who are registered on their List.  PDs are the initial access point and the navigators of beneficiaries within the GHS.
What does a PD mainly do?
PDs are the initial contact point of beneficiaries with the GHS.  They provide healthcare services regarding diagnosis, treatment, prevention and health promotion.
What are the advantages of adopting the institution of the PD for the GHS?
 
The corner stone of the institution of the PD is its people-centred approach.  The main advantages of the institution are the following:
 
  1. Direct access
  2. Guidance of beneficiaries within the GHS
  3. Implementation of screening programs
  4. Better and coordinated treatment of chronic conditions
  5. More effective use of resources
  6. Greater transparency as regards the healthcare services provided
Who will offer PD services to the GHS?
PDs for adults – i.e. for beneficiaries over the age of 15
  1. Doctors specialised in general medicine, or
  2. Doctors specialized in pathology, or
  3. Doctors with special training in general medicine that has been approved by the Cyprus Medical Council (by virtue of the Doctors Registration Law) or
  4. Doctors who hold a certificate certifying their right to practice general medicine within the framework of the national social insurance system (in accordance with paragraph 2 of Regulation 8F of the Doctors (Special Qualifications) Regulations) or doctors who hold an official  certificate issued by the competent authorities of other Member States to their citizens thus providing them the right to practice general medicine in the Republic within the framework of the national social insurance system (in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of Regulation 8F of the Doctors (Special Qualifications) Regulations), or
  5. Doctors specialised in geriatrics, for beneficiaries who have attained the age of sixty-five (65).
PDs for children – i.e. for beneficiaries up to the age of 18
  1.  Doctors specialised in paediatrics.
 
The HIO will contract with PDs who fulfil the above stated and are registered in the Cyprus Medical Record, hold a valid annual medical licence and comply with the rest of the requirements set by the HIO for concluding a contract as these are stated in the GHS Law and the Regulations.
How will I have access to a PD?
All beneficiaries must be enrolled in the GHS (see Beneficiaries Enrolment Process) and be registered in a PD List in order to be able to receive healthcare services by PDs and other providers within the GHS.
 
Children up to the age of 15 must be registered with a personal doctor for children (i.e. a paediatrician). 
 
Persons who have attained the age of 15 and up to the age of 18 shall have the right to choose between registering in a PD for Children List or a PD for Adults List. 
 
Adults who have attained the age of 18 must be registered with a personal doctor for Adults.
 
In order for beneficiaries to be able to receive services within the GHS they must secure a referral by their PD.  Female beneficiaries who have attained the age of 15 may visit a gynaecologist/obstetrician for gynaecological issues without a referral by their PD and without paying a Personal Contribution 1.
How do I secure a referral by my PD?
After physically examining a beneficiary, the PD may decide that he/she requires treatment by another healthcare provider in which case the PD issues a referral to the beneficiary in order to visit the appropriate healthcare provider, i.e.:
  • Outpatient specialist (Stage 1)
  • Outpatient specialist in diagnostic radiology for diagnostic tests (Stage 1)
  • Outpatient specialist in cytology and pathological anatomy by sending specimens for diagnostic tests (Stage 1)
  • Nurse, clinical dietician, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, physiotherapist & clinical psychologist (Stage 2)
  • Accident & Emergency Department (Stage 2)
  • Rehabilitation centre (Stage 2)
  • Palliative healthcare centre (Stage 2)
 
In addition, the PD shall issue prescriptions for pharmaceutical treatment and/or medical devices and supplies.
 
The PDs are not allowed to refer beneficiaries to a specific healthcare provider.  Therefore the choice of a specific healthcare provider belongs exclusively to the beneficiary.
In which cases it is not necessary to secure a referral from the PD?
Beneficiaries will be able to visit the following healthcare providers without a referral:
 
  1. A dentist for the provision of preventive dental healthcare (GHS 2nd Stage)
  2. An Accident & Emergency Department (A&E) for all emergencies (GHS 2nd Stage).
How does having a PD contribute to a better and more comprehensive treatment of chronic diseases?
PDs will receive additional reimbursement within the GHS when implementing specific clinical guidelines aiming at applying best practices for specific chronic conditions (e.g. hypertension (HBP)).  The said guidelines will be put into force after the first year of implementation of the GHS.
How does the PD promotes and implements detection programs?
PDs will play a significant role in the promotion and implementation of preventive screening programs determined by the Ministry of Health and adopted by the HIO.  PDs within the framework of promoting these programs will inform beneficiaries on their List about all programs adopted by the HIO.  The said screening programs will be put into force after the first year of implementation of the GHS.
In what way does the PD help beneficiaries in the promotion of health?
PDs will make suggestions to discourage habits that may be detrimental to health.  Such interventions aim at population groups who exhibit behaviour that is harmful to their health such as smokers, people who consume too much alcohol and others.
Does the PD refer a patient to the Accident & Emergency Departments?
PDs will be able to issue referrals for A&Es or arrange for emergency transportation by ambulance to an A&E as the case may be.  Beneficiaries will also be able to visit A&Es without a referral.
How will I have access to my PD?
Beneficiaries must be enrolled in the GHS and registered in a PD List in order to have access to that PD by arranging an appointment.
What are the PDs working hours?
The HIO will not impose any specific working hours for PDs.  It is up to each PD to set up their office working hours depending on their needs.
Will the PD appoint a replacement when he/she will be absent?
In case a PD is absent he/she will appoint another PD who has a contract with the HIO and who will replace him/her during their absence.  The replacement procedure will be done by the PD with the use of the Information Technology System.  The HIO will make arrangements so that the substitute PD will have access to the medical history of the patients he/she will serve for that specific time period.
 
The PD must inform beneficiaries on his list about the arrangements he/she has made to be replaced by another PD.
To which PD are beneficiaries entitled to be registered?
Beneficiaries may be registered on the List of a PD of their choice who is contracted with the HIO.
Is there a co-payment amount that must be paid by beneficiaries when visiting a PD?
Beneficiaries will not pay any co-payment when visiting their personal doctor.
Can beneficiaries be treated at home by their PD?
Beneficiaries who according to specific criteria are considered as permanently bedridden will be entitled to treatment at home by their personal doctor.  The maximum amount of home visits is six (6) per permanently bedridden beneficiary per year.
How often can beneficiaries visit their PD?
In order to deter overvisitation to PDs for adults and PDs for chldren, the HIO has imposed some limitations to the number of visits per year, as shown in the table below. When the number is exceeded the beneficiary must pay the PD a copayment of EUR 15 per visit.
 
Free visits for children/per age group/year

Age range   visits

0 – 1                10

1 – 3                 8

3 - 5                 7

6 - 10              4

11-18             3

 
Free visits for adults/per age group/year
Age range   visits

16 – 18              3

18 – 40             4

41 – 50            6

51 – 65            8

>65                 10

When and how can beneficiaries change their PD and under which circumstances?
Beneficiaries may change their PD after the lapse of 6 months as of the date of their registration with a PD.  Children up to the age of 2 may change their PD without any time restrictions.
Is there a ceiling to the number of beneficiaries a PD can have on his/her list?
In accordance with the GHS Law the maximum number of beneficiaries that may be registered by a personal doctor on their List is 2500.
Is there a directory of all PDs who are contracted with the HIO?
The directory with the names of the personal doctors for Adults and the personal doctors for Children who are contracted with the HIO will be posted on the HIO website and the Beneficiary Portal.
How will the residents of remote and mountainous areas have access to a PD?
The Ministry of Health plans to maintain the existing rural healthcare centres in remote and/or mountainous areas.  Beneficiaries, however, have the right to be registered with a PD of their choice who they feel will serve them better.
What happens if there is not a paediatrician who is contracted with the HIO in my area?
In case there is no HIO contracted paediatrician in the area where you live or at a manageable distance for you, you may register your child on a PD for Adults List by filling in the relevant application.