By Evie Andreou
THE intervention by President Nicos Anastasiades in breaking the deadlock on the National Health Scheme was catalytic and positive, Health minister Philippos Patsalis said on Thursday after a meeting to discuss progress in implementing the NHS.
Following disagreements between Patsalis and the head of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) Thomas Antoniou over who or what is to blame for the delay in implementing the NHS, President Anastasiades arranged for the meeting with all stakeholders in order to discuss the issues.
After the meeting, Patsalis expressed his satisfaction with the deadlines provided by the HIO on the conclusion of the software programme that is crucial for the implementation of the NHS.
“The HIO agreed that they will proceed with a tender competition within the next two months, and they have set timeframes for the development of the software in two phases,” Patsalis said.
He added that during the first phase, the software will include the general practitioners (GPs), specialist doctors, medicines and lab results, and should be ready by September 2016, or at worst two months later. Phase two will get underway in March 2017, or two months later, and will cover in-patient care, casualty and first aid departments, and the rest of the health professionals.
“This is very important, because until now we were given no timeframe from the HIO concerning the software,” Patsalis said.
Other issues discussed were the autonomy of public hospitals, which Patsalis said will be achieved according to plan within the year.
“A study was completed which includes the public hospitals’ exact expenses and their estimated revenue under the NHS,” he said.
“Concerning the framework bill for the NHS, the aim is to be completed and voted in parliament by September,” Patsalis said.
The single- and multi-insurance system was also discussed, he said, and a dialogue is to begin with all interested parties with goal of “the best interest of the citizens”.
“Based on the new data, the new timeframes for the implementation of the NHS will be discussed with the HIO and the troika (of international creditors),” Patsalis said.