The government’s aim is to implement the national health system as soon as possible, Health Minister George Pamboridis said on Thursday, but could not give a timeframe since state hospitals must first become independent.
“Time is not the criterion,” the minister told reporters. “It is when and how soon we can streamline state hospitals through making them autonomous.”
Pamboridis said that was real reform and should be done as a matter of urgency.
“As soon as it is implemented we will immediately proceed with the NHS,” he said.
The procedure to make state facilities independent will kick off immediately through a shadow budget, the minister said, expressing hope of achieving the objective early in 2016.
“Costing services and starting the procedure for financial autonomy should be done using a shadow budget, if my recommendation is heeded by all political parties immediately,” he said.
Making the state hospitals independent cannot be a reform that will be implemented piecemeal, Pamboridis added.
Speaking before the House Finance Committee earlier on, the minister told MPs that the NHS could be implemented in 2017, or 2018, or maybe later.
“We don’t even know the timeframes,” he said.
On the general state of public health provision, the minister said none of the previous administrations had dealt with the long term problems of the sector.
They all “swept them under the carpet” waiting for the NHS to be introduced.
Pamboridis said the state must first tackle the long term problems before touching upon the daily issues patients had.
The minister said the public sector had able doctors but instead of seeing 25 patients a day they examined 65. The result was people seeing bad conduct.