In May 2011, Cyprus was cut off from international markets and entered a three-year economic crisis with an initial drop in GDP by 2.2%. In March 2013, a memorandum agreement was signed between the Cyprus Government and the Troika (European Commission, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) accounting for 10 billion Euros. The recession continued with a decrease in GDP by-5.9% in 2013 and-2.5% in 2014. According to EU-28 statistics, Cyprus enjoys a high level of health in comparison to the rest of the EU Member States. Cyprus’s infant mortality rate is lower than the average of the 28 Member States of the European Union and the life expectancy is higher. Cyprus spends the lowest share of its GDP on health (6.7% of the GDP) and records the highest share in private health expenditure (3.83% of the GDP). The financing of health care imposes a burden on the household budgets of Cypriots. Prior to the financial crisis, two segregated public and private health systems were in operation. There was a lack of universal coverage and inefficiency in financing and monitoring. The health system suffered from inequalities in access to services, and inefficiency in the distribution and utilization of services. In June 2017, the Cyprus Parliament approved unanimously the Troika’s proposals for the implementation of a General Health System (GESY), to ensure universal coverage to all citizens, equal access to services and free choice of physician. The reforms in the health system were implemented in two phases. The first phase aimed at the introduction of GESY outpatient services. The second phase, the introduction of GESY inpatient care, began on 1st June, 2020. Both the citizens of Cyprus and the Members of Parliament voted strongly in favor, and support the health reforms.

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Archives of Hellenic Medicine
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Constantinou, E. (E.), Yfantopoulos, Ν. (), & Yfantopoulos, J. (J.). (2020). Τhe economic crisis, the memorandum and the reforms in the Health System of Cyprus. Archives of Hellenic Medicine, 37(6), 832–843. Retrieved from