By Bejay Browne
The British High Commission will hold a series of interactive roadshows later this month to highlight access to healthcare for British expats living in Cyprus.
According to the British High Commission, the free presentations will take place on Tuesday October 20 at the Larnaca Civil Defence Headquarters in Mackenzie and on Thursday October 22 at Palia Ilektriki cultural centre, in Paphos Town Centre at 10.30am and later in the day at Pissouri Amphitheatre at 3pm.
The roadshows will be attended by staff from the British High Commission Consular section and representatives from the Department of Health in the UK, as well as local officials.
British Vice Consul at the British High Commission in Nicosia, Christina Smith, told the Cyprus Mail that the roadshows are: “an opportunity for the British community to learn more about their healthcare rights, both in the UK and here in Cyprus, particularly for those of pension age.”
Changes to NHS charging regulations with the aim of recouping £500 million a year by 2017 to 2018, which came into effect in April, also affect former UK residents living in Cyprus, said Smith.
UK state pensioners who live elsewhere in the European Economic Area – EEA- such as Cyprus, now have the same rights to NHS care as people who live in England. This applies to all pensioners who receive a UK state retirement pension and are registered for healthcare in Europe with an S1 form.
However, people who live elsewhere in the EEA or Switzerland who are not working and are under the UK retirement age should either use an EHIC if they’re entitled to one, or make sure they have health insurance if they need NHS care when visiting England. Otherwise they will have to pay for their care. This includes former UK residents, and ensures that people who already live and work in the UK do not end up paying through their taxes for visitors who are not economically active.
UK representatives of the Department of Health will be in Cyprus to talk about the changes in the legislation which affects people of a pensionable age, what criteria needs to be met and discuss how forms should be filled in, said the Vice Consul.
“There is also another aspect of the road shows and that is to encourage social integration here in Cyprus.”
Smith said that this includes issues such as making sure British expat residents are registered for their ‘yellow slips’ and their Cypriot health cards.
As well as representatives from the UK ministry of health, there will also be representatives from the Cyprus Ministry of Health and a number of other organisations.
Each presentation will be around an hour long followed by a question and answer session; there will then be ample time for attendees to meet the different representatives on a one-on-one basis.
A similar series of events was successfully held by the British High Commission four years ago.
British residents wanting to attend should email the British High Commission at: [email protected]