By Annette Chrysostomou
SOME €10m will be allocated to tackle the problem of waiting lists in public hospitals, with two to three million of that amount distributed immediately, Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides announced on Friday after a cabinet meeting.
“There are waiting lists of between eight and 24 months,” he said, “these should be eliminated. These are short-term measures which are investigated at the behest of the president and taken with immediate effect in order to alleviate the problems of our fellow citizens in anticipation of wider reforms.”
The plan, according to Pamborides, is to use practical solutions that take into account the public sector infrastructure and the possibility to work afternoons and evenings, as well as the capacity of the private sector to contribute to the effort.
“Costly and high tech equipment which has been secured at the cost of the Cypriot citizen, the taxpayer, is utilised mainly during the official working hours of the public service,” he stated.
Primarily, the public infrastructure will be used, but there will also be pilot programmes where senior staff of public hospitals will work overtime in the afternoons.
In addition, cases which cannot be served by afternoon overtime in the public hospitals will be referred to contracted private hospitals which have agreed to provide certain services to the health ministry.
Patients will be given a subsidy coupon, which will give them the possibility to decide which health service provider they would like to choose, while the patient only pays for the additional cost which may arise.
Detailed aspects of the programme and the procedures will be presented at a press conference by the health minister early next week, Pamborides announced.