The Future of Healthcare in Cyprus – New perspectives for Young Patients

A blog by EPF Youth Group president Andreas Christodoulou

Last month I had the honour to be invited as a speaker to a multi stakeholder healthcare conference in Cyprus. It introduced a policy dialogue in the healthcare sector alongside world class international speakers, high level representatives of the European Commission, WHO, EPF and other international organizations, as well as world known academics, opinion leaders and government and industry representatives. The unique purpose of this event was to shift the focus on how healthcare systems can reform to better deal with the uncertainties and realise the opportunities of tomorrow, as Cyprus Healthcare is currently under reforms. The event provided a fantastic platform for collaborative discussion amongst internationally leading patient advocates, patient organisations, payers, pharma, regulators, government bodies and academics/researchers.

Kicking off the day with messages from the Cypriot and the Greek Minister of Health

The conference started with two presentations from the Cypriot and the Greek Minister of Health, Mr Constantinos Ioannou and Mr Andreas Xanthos respectively, as the conference was under the High auspices of the Cypriot Government - Ministry of Health. They both highlighted the importance of the reforms that are currently being done especially with the first implementation of the new Cypriot General Health System (GESY) from June 2019.

EU Healthcare Systems in Transition

The first session of this high-level one-day conference was about the European Healthcare Systems in transition and what are the main challenges that are facing at European level. Due to the extensive knowledge and actions that EPF is doing we were invited to present major concerns and challenges of patients’ access to healthcare especially in view of the reforms due in the Cypriot Healthcare system and to discuss patient empowerment and engagement further.   

My presentation highlighted the outcomes of EPF’s Campaign on Access to Healthcare that covers five action areas and will trigger actions and develop recommendations achieving Universal Health Coverage for All by 2030.  These include:

  1. Providing Quality of Care across the EU
  2. Committing to Sustainable Investment in Health
  3. Encouraging Affordability of Healthcare Products and Services
  4. Ensuring Access to a Holistic Range of Health and Social Services
  5. Ending Discrimination Patients Are Facing in Healthcare

Furthermore, as President of EPF’s Youth Group I discussed the value of engaging with the next generation of empowered patients and why the youth factor must always be taken into account. I argued that to truly achieve patient-centered healthcare for young patients we need to create a culture of engagement in young adults and children from the start, recognizing that our needs and perspective can be different from the one of adult patients. I also talked about the use of digital technologies in health and how these technologies can help young patients to be more active in the decision-making for our own health care.

If you’re interested in all the details, you can access my presentation here.

As the conference came to an end, a last panel discussion between all stakeholders took place. We all joined forces and we agreed that the new reforms in the Cypriot Healthcare system are challenging but the way forward is to strengthen and unify the collaboration between all stakeholders and to consider patients as equal partners.

If you are a young patient between 18-30 years old and would like  to know more about the EPF Youth Group, feel free to get in touch with me.