This year sees momentous change in the organisation and provision of health care for the people and patients of Cyprus with the introduction of the new National Health System (NHS). In the new NHS, Family Doctors (called General Practitioners in much of Europe) will play a central role as the first point of contact for most patients. The generalist skills of Family Doctors are essential for prevention, first presentation and on-going management of illnesses. They also have a managerial role in improving pathways of care for their patients when specialist and additional services are needed, as in hospital. An effective Family Doctor is able to understand and support patients over time, acting as a guide and an advocate.
A new Masters in Family Medicine (MSc FM) programme at the University of Nicosia Medical School is raising quality standards and demonstrating competence. It has been designed by family doctors with academic support from hospital specialists and medical education experts. The flexible programme offers community-based doctors a postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine after 12 months and a Master of Science in Family Medicine following a further 6 months of coursework. The programme commenced in October, and the first wave of doctors will complete their assessments in September 2015.