Cyprus Mail

Draft NHS bill due to go to House next week

Too many so-called stakeholders have been involved in discussions surrounding the national health scheme

By Andria Kades

A DRAFT bill on the NHS and state hospitals’ autonomy is expected to go to parliament next week, with reforms being a high priority, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis said.

Based on negotiations with the Troika and other government departments, which are almost completed, Patsalis said:

“This very important bill will be ready for public consultation next week and immediately after, submitted to parliament.”

He was speaking during a SEK union conference.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the minister hinted that the priority at the moment was implementing reforms such its digitisation.

The Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) is expected to call for tenders over the NHS management programme software in less than a month, costing €10.5m while the health ministry will call for tenders in October for software in all state hospitals.

All the software will cost some €35m.

Once those steps were taken then discussions on details over the NHS could move forward as it is expected to be implemented by 2017. How soon everything happened, depended on them, he said.

“It depends on all these reforms, the software, it depends on us and how quickly we can move.”

In regards to medicine, Patsalis said prices have decreased and almost all reforms have been implemented.

SEK union general secretary Nicos Moiseos stressed the necessity of the NHS but called on the government to “abandon the idea of a multi insurance health system, which is not economical and not implementable, as the World Health Organisation recently stated.”

Patsalis responded saying the single or multiple payment system was one of many aspects of the NHS and that there was no good or bad system.

“It is known that in all countries of the world, the health system adapts and is woven to match exactly what every country needs.”

Moiseos said that with the introduction of the NHS, the autonomy of the HIO should be upheld while the government should start discussions with the union on how to protect staff in state hospitals that will be affected by the autonomy.

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