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Only national health scheme can end squandering of public money, says minister

Only national health scheme can end squandering of public money, says minister

THE considerable squandering of taxpayer money in the public health sector can only be resolved by implementing the national health scheme (Gesy), Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides told MPs on Monday.

Speaking before the House finance committee, which discussed his ministry’s budget, Pamborides said a huge amount of money was being wasted in the sector.

The minister blamed the phenomenon on the current structure of the health system and the bureaucracy, which “generated corruption and creates sources of contamination”.

“Huge squandering (of public money) goes on the pharmaceutical sector of public hospitals,” he said.

As an example, the minister used the excessive number of medicines prescribed by doctors in state hospitals to people who were eligible.

“We aim to stop these with the implementation of hospital autonomy and the Gesy,” the minister said.

Pamborides said reforming the health sector was the government’s “main and irrevocable” objective.

In the meantime, the ministry was trying to alleviate the problems faced by health professionals and patients alike, he added.

One of those was the departure of many state doctors who opted to continue in the private sector where the conditions were better.

Pamborides said the ministry was expected to complete a package of measures in the next few days to tackle the issue.

The minister said they were also pushing for basic care to be provided at local facilities in a bid to prevent flow towards general hospitals, which was costly.

He told MPs that his ministry aimed to extend the working hours of outpatient clinics at the old Nicosia general hospital, Kaimakli, and Engomi, both in the capital, until 6pm, to provide a better service to patients and decongest the general hospital.

The same scheme was being pushed for the Troodos area, extending the hours of outpatient clinics in Kyperounta, Evrichou, Platres and Agros.

Expenditure in 2017 is expected to be up 2.2 per cent, or €555m, MPs heard. Out of the €12.2m, which represent the raise, €10.4m concerned the payroll.

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