[Cyprus] Glitch in GHS system rejects Turkish Cypriots and EU nationals

The Financial Mirror is reporting numerous complaints received from Turkish Cypriots, citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and other EU nationals who work and live in the Republic. The complaints state that the GHS online registration system will not allow them to enrol.

Turkish Cypriots and EU citizens living as permanent residents, work in the country and pay into its Social Insurance Fund but software glitches in the General Healthcare System have prevented them from registering.

In the past, Cyprus has had special agreements in place with Greece granting citizens of one country equal treatment when relocated in the other. Yet Greek citizens have been asked for evidence of their residence.

Maria from Greece - who reportedly preferred to withhold her surname - said, “I was asked to present hard evidence of my address in Cyprus when I tried to register with the GHS. I have been working here for almost a decade and my details are with a number of state services. Surely, they should have been able to verify my address.”

Also experiencing problems trying to register with the GHS is a British expatriate who has been on the island for around 50 years. The expat’s late husband was Cypriot but she was not allowed to join the platform and had to give authorities evidence of her address and show her yellow slip.

When asked to comment on such cases Thomas Antoniou - the President of the Health Insurance Organisation’s (HIO) board - said that there was no intention to discriminate between citizens of the Republic.

Mr Antoniou said, “I personally would not tolerate such a mentality within the organization, while such a thing would go against the philosophy of the GHS, which is healthcare for all. The problems derive from issues to do with the Population Archive to which the online platform is connected to.”

He added that the HIO are aware of the ‘glitch’ and are working hard to resolve it in order that all beneficiaries may use the GHS on equal terms.

Athos Tsinontides - HIO’s general manager - seemed to confirm that problems were caused by the system being connected to the state’s population archive when he said that the glitch in the system is had arisen because the archive is not updated with the latest details of all residents on the island.

It is believed that these issues could be solved by linking the platform to the Social Insurance and other archives, eg. the electoral register used in the latest European elections. Around 80,000 Turkish Cypriots were included on the register along with their home addresses.

Beneficiaries of the GHS who continue to have problems registering with the system should contact the HIO’s helpline 17000.