Cyprus Mail

Cypriots still paying for half their healthcare

Health Minister Philippos Patsalis

THE government will not accept a situation where health and social security change from an entitled right to become a trade, Health minister Philippos Patsalis said yesterday.

“This is a situation where 49.9 per cent of expenses that Cypriots spend on health are not compensated by any system or private insurance and as a result, patients have to cover large costs from their pocket,” he said marking today’s European Day of Patients’ Rights.

He reiterated that the state will not tolerate a system which leaves Cyprus with one of the smallest budgets for public health as a percentage of gross domestic product among EU countries.

One of his aims is to restructure and fix long standing problems as well as upgrade the health services offered to the public. “It is our duty and priority to turn around this negative reality and relieve citizens”, the minister said, adding it was the state’s responsibility to defend values that helped people during difficult times.

“We want to succeed with what we all want: a better health system for everyone covering all our citizens, irrelevant of their age, medical history and economic situation. A health system that is patient-centric and ensures they have access to a high level of services.”

Introduction of the National Health Service (NHS), a term in the island’s €10bn bailout, has been a thorny issue between Patsalis and the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) over who or what is to blame for the delay in implementing the NHS. President Nicos Anastasiades intervened on Thursday to break the deadlock.

After the meeting, Patsallis said he was pleased the HIO provided deadlines for when a software programme, crucial for the implementation of the NHS, would be concluded and that it would proceed with a tender competition within the next two months.

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