Reducing patient lists in the public health sector took months, it is not something that can be achieved overnight, Health Minister George Pamporidis said on Saturday.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Pamporidis dismissed as “ridiculous” the claims made by opposition parties that the measures announced by Cabinet on Friday were an attempt of the government to electioneer.
Among the Cabinet measures was the allocation of €10m to tackle the problem of waiting lists in public hospitals, with two to three million of that to be distributed immediately. Another measure was the approval of a €4.5m plan to increase the pension bonus, known as the “small cheque”, given to low-income pensioners.
The announcements raised reactions from opposition parties that blamed the government for electioneering.
Pamporides said it was the opposition that used this as an election ploy and rejected their claims, as he said, it took several months to complete the study aiming to reduce waiting lists.
He said the project provides for the pilot trial of an overtime system and referrals to the private sector, by offering subsidy coupons to patients. The coupon will give them the possibility to decide which health service provider they would like to choose, while the patient only pays for any additional costs that might arise.
As regards overtime, he said, this means that the hospitals’ infrastructures will be put to use more hours per day, as operations will take place in the afternoons as well.
He added that as a prerequisite for the staff to do overtime, is the use of punch cards.
Head of AKEL Andros Kyprianou said that the government, instead of implementing the National Health Scheme “just as it was agreed on in 2012” stalls in an attempt to serve interests.