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Private hospitals want full NHS, not mini version

Beleaguered Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis

THE private hospitals association (PASIN) said on Tuesday they do not agree with the implementation of the ‘mini’ National Health Scheme (NHS) and are calling for progress on the real deal.

Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis had announced last month that there were thoughts for a “mini-NHS” to be introduced in mid-2017, as an intermediate stage, with limited contributions by employees and employers – 1 per cent of wages each – to be applicable only at public hospitals. This was to be a stepping stone to full implementation of a single-payer universal coverage health system. The measure aims to funnel funds into state hospitals, which are slated to become financially and administratively autonomous as of January 1, 2017.

Among PASIN’s concerns are problems that may arise due to delays in the autonomy of public hospitals.

“In the best case scenario, the NHS will take at least three years to be implemented, namely 2020 at the earliest, with or without a mini NHS,” it said.

Secondly, they said, the autonomy of public hospitals was a prerequisite for the implementation of the NHS in order to make them viable and competitive.

Thirdly, to implement an integrated NHS “requires political will and cooperation between the state and all political forces”.

Although, PASIN said, various options and parameters were discussed as regards the implementation of the mini NHS, the private hospitals “clearly declare they are not satisfied as to the soundness and sustainability of this project at this stage”.

PASIN, the announcement said, supports the health ministry as regards the implementation of a viable and functional NHS, “which will serve patients and upgrade the level of public health”.

“Continued procrastination in the implementation of the NHS, creates mistrust and uncertainty that discourages investment in the private health sector,” it added.

Private hospitals urge the state to table the bills for the implementation of an integrated NHS, and call for “clear and binding timetables to ensure the implementation of a system with universal coverage that gives patients the right of free choice of doctor and hospital, and fair and equal competition between public and private hospitals”.


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