Multimorbidity and unmet citizens' needs and expectations urge for reforms in the health system of Cyprus: a questionnaire survey

JRSM Open. 2014 Jan 7;5(1):2042533313515860. doi: 10.1177/2042533313515860. eCollection 2014 Jan.


Objective: This study aims to investigate the prevalence of multimorbidity in Cyprus and the extent to which citizens are satisfied with the currently provided healthcare and to provide recommendations on the basis of findings.

Design: A nationally based survey conducted through personal interviews, using a structured questionnaire designed for this survey.

Setting: Cyprus rural and urban areas (excluding Turkish occupied areas).

Participants: Four hundred and sixty-five Cypriot adults, average age 53 years.

Main outcome measures: Lifetime prevalence of self-reported non-communicable diseases.

Results: This study demonstrated initial evidence for a high prevalence of non-age specific multimorbidity among Cypriots and dissatisfaction with their doctors, especially for the time allocated to discuss their general state of health. Recommendations focus on a new cost-effective, person-centred model of healthcare. The model prioritizes prevention rather than treatment, targeting the determinants of complexity before their influences create conditions that demand high-cost interventions, and it is based on three fundamental principles: (1) tackling health as a political issue, (2) empowering the patient and (3) introducing Applied Nutrition in the system.

Conclusions: This study threw light into the issue of patient complexity and revealed unmet people's needs and expectations for a more person-centred care, providing a first challenge to the single disease-based system of healthcare in Cyprus. The findings of the study may have important implications for government policies and highlight the need for more research in this area to inform policy makers, particularly in view of the fact that a new Health System is currently being designed.

Keywords: multimorbidity; patients' disatisfaction; person-centred healthcare.