PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades expressed his discontent on Wednesday over the lack of progress toward the implementation of the National Health Scheme (NHS) and blames the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) for the delay.
Commenting on the implementation of the NHS, a report in Kathimerini quoted the president as saying that without the right software, for which the HIO is responsible, the NHS cannot be implemented.
“For 12 years, tens of million of euros have been spent, then in pounds today in euros, and they [HIO] are thinking and re-thinking, they are postponing and they have not managed to effectively deal even the very basics.”
He said that he is to meet with the HIO, the Health ministry and PASYDI on April 16 to discuss the issue and push forth for the implementation of the NHS.
Last month, Health minister Philippos Patsalis had said that NHS will not be implemented this year and in the best case scenario not before September 2016, because the vital software was not yet ready.
Putting in place a new and efficient health system is part of the island’s €10bn bailout plan; the first phase of the NHS was to be implemented by July 2015, the second in January 2016 and the third in July 2016.
“If we truly want the immediate implementation of the NHS … there is no other alternative than the tabling of the bill agreed by all parties involved and is pending at the Health ministry since September 2013,” said the HIO in an announcement responding to the president’s remarks.
The organisation reiterated that it is not to blame for the delay and that it is ready to proceed with the first phase of the NHS within four months from the vote of the bill.
The announcement also said that the organisation had to halt the bidding process for the development of the software until the update of the actuarial study on the NHS was completed, in October 2013, and that it also had to look into all alternative choices for the improvement of the software’s specifications with the goal to reduce the project’s overall costs according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
“This study was conducted with the assistance of a specialist from the European Commission and was completed in April 2014,” it said.
It also said that the cross-examination of the legal basis of the bidding process by all involved authorities and the delay in the provision of technical assistance from the EU support group pushed the project further back.
The HIO expressed its satisfaction about the upcoming meeting and said that the president will be informed objectively on the course of events and on “what should be done for the implementation of the NHS”.