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25 July, 2024
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Nineteen new private hospitals to transform health sector in Cyprus

Investors eye Cyprus as a hotspot for health sector growth

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

Investors have shown interest in the health sector in Cyprus. According to the records, from 2021 until now, there are 12 new private hospitals that are seeking licences to establish/operate in Cyprus, some of which have obtained an establishment licence and are working on getting an operating licence. Meanwhile, existing investors who are already active in the health sector in Cyprus are also paying attention to the health sector, as "K" has learned, seven existing private hospitals are also applying for licences to establish/operate, which will involve conversions/extensions.

It is understood that the introduction of the General Health System (Gesy), which came into effect from 1 June 2019, gave a great boost to the health sector in Cyprus, with the provision of outpatient health care, covering services from personal doctors, medical specialists, medicines and laboratory tests. The second and final phase of the Gesy from 1 June 2020 increased the investment interest, as it included all other health care services, namely inpatient health care, health care by other health professionals (clinical dietitians, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and clinical psychologists), nurses and midwives, Accident & Emergency Departments, ambulance services, dentists, palliative health care and medical rehabilitation.

The changes that have been made since 2019 in the legislation have whetted the appetite of investors, with the health sector in Cyprus laying the groundwork for significant upgrades.

The changes that have been made since 2019 in the legislation have whetted the appetite of investors, with the health sector in Cyprus setting the stage for significant upgrades of both a quantitative and a qualitative nature. Over the past three years, we have seen a lot of activity in the health sector, with acquisitions of existing ones that have also led to conversions/upgrades. Most recently, the acquisition of Polyclinic Hygeia in Limassol by ECM Partners, where they have given the management to the Athens Medical Group.

One of the announced hospital projects is that of AHEPA University Hospital that will be located in Nicosia and will be in full cooperation with the University General Hospital of Thessaloniki "AHEPA". Hellenic Healthcare Holding Single Member S.A of the– now well-known-investment fund CVC Capital, acquired in these three years Apollonio, Aretaiio, while its last acquisition is shares in a radiological services company, Gialletto Ltd.

Up to and including the year 2019, due to a lack of data on the private sector, health and hospital data and statistics were mainly limited to the public sector. The data available for the private sector were the number of doctors, dentists, nurses, clinics, beds, as well as the number of discharged patients, days of hospitalisation, etc. However, from 2020 onwards, with the implementation of the Gesy, the available data was further extended to the private sector. The latest available data relate to 2021, but show the picture of why investors are interested in private investment in Cyprus.

In 2021, 89,357 inpatients were discharged, i.e. patients who stayed in a hospital for at least one night. Of these discharges, 46% concerned hospitals of the Organisation of State Health Services (Okypy), while 54% concerned private hospitals contracted with the Gesy. The largest number of inpatient discharge was given by the specialty of obstetrics-gynaecology with a percentage of 15.7%, followed by the specialties of general surgery with a percentage of 14.9%, pathology with 12.1%, cardiology with 11.4% and orthopaedics with 9.1%.

7.2 million visitors In 2021, 231,109 daily patients were discharged, i.e. patients admitted to a hospital, treated and discharged on the same day. Of these discharges, 62.7% concerned the hospitals of Okypy, while 37.3% concerned private hospitals contracted with the Gesy.

Regarding discharge by specialty doctor, the largest percentage (50.1%) was for the specialty of Nephrology, followed by pathological oncology with a percentage of 14.5% and haematology with 7.5%.In 2021, there were 7,202,579 outpatient visits, compared to 6,016,478 in 2020, an increase of 19.7%. Of the total visits made in 2021, 951,872 (percentage 13.2%) were made to outpatient clinics of hospitals and health centres under Okypy and 6,250,707 (percentage 86.8%) to private sector doctors contracted by Gesy. The corresponding figures for 2020 were 16.3% and 83.7%.

As far as the healthcare provider is concerned, 14.3% of outpatient visits to personal physicians concerned visits to hospitals and health centres of Okypy, while the remaining 85.7% to private physicians who are affiliated with Gesy. The corresponding figures for 2020 were 16.8% and 83.2%. Of the outpatient visits to specialist doctors, 12.3% concerned visits to hospitals and health centres of Okypy, while the remaining 87.7% to private doctors who are affiliated with the Gesy. The corresponding figures for 2020 were 15.9% and 84.1%.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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