The Cyprus Medical Association will not consent to the introduction of any national health scheme that does not provide for the equal participation of public and private health providers, it has warned.
In a statement, the CMA reacted to Health minister Giorgos Pamborides’ announcement of a “mini-NHS” to be introduced in mid-2017, with limited contributions by employees and employers – 1 per cent of wages each – to be applicable only at public hospitals, as a stepping stone to full implementation of a single-payer universal coverage health system.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, whom Pamborides credited with coming up with the idea, said on Tuesday morning that the measure aims to funnel funds into state hospitals, which are slated to become financially and administratively autonomous as of January 1, 2017.
“Such announcements completely contradict the planning for a universal NHS, which stipulated the participation of both the public and private sectors, so that the provision of healthcare to citizens can be unhindered, with the free choice of healthcare facility and practitioner available to all,” the CMA’s statement said.
“These announcements are not based on any evidence-backed studies and simply consist of an added arbitrary tax, with no suggestion of the true benefit of such a policy.”
The CMA complained that such a derailment from original planning should not have been made without prior consultation of all stakeholders, “especially the Cyprus Medical Association”, when state hospitals are already unable to cope with having to serve 80 per cent of the population.
“If the state proceeds to implement such a policy, the healthcare sector will face even more serious problems than it is facing today, and any prospect of growth in the healthcare industry will be buried,” the CMA said.
“We state that the CMA will not consent to the introduction of any national health scheme that does not provide for the equal participation of public and private healthcare sector.”