The contract for the software that will operate Cyprus’ national health scheme (NHS) has been awarded to NCR Cyprus Ltd, which submitted the most economically viable bid, the board of directors of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) said on Tuesday.
According to a statement, the HIO board made the decision on October 6 “per the due terms and procedures”.
“The HIO’s board of directors believes that awarding the contract constitutes a decisive step toward promoting the introduction of the National Health Scheme, in accordance with the unanimous decisions made by the president and party leaders,” the statement said.
“The NHS is designed on the principles of social solidarity and universal coverage, and its introduction is the only way out of today’s deadlocks facing the health sector in our country.”
The HIO’s board reaffirmed its commitment to introducing the NHS in close cooperation with the health ministry and all stakeholders involved.
A prerequisite for rendering state hospitals financially and administratively autonomous – itself considered the key step before rolling out the NHS – commissioning a software system has been the subject of long delays and finger-pointing between the health ministry and the HIO.
Last year, then Health minister Philippos Patsalis said further delays in introducing the NHS were down to the HIO’s failure to procure the vital software.
At the time, the HIO had replied that the software couldn’t be obtained because there was no legal framework supporting a tenders process.
In June 2014, Patsalis had announced a deal with the Troika, according to which the NHS would be rolled out in three phases – the first in July 2015, the second in January 2016, and the third in July 2016.
Frustrated at the lack of progress, he resigned in July 2015.
His replacement, Giorgos Pamporidis, soon declared the introduction of the NHS his sole task, and pledged to resign if he failed to see it through.
His ambitious plan for a “mini-NHS”, unveiled in February, failed to gain traction and soon gave way to discussion for the introduction of a proper health system, which he said could only be rolled out by June 2020.