The House health committee on Thursday concluded discussion of a government bill rendering state hospitals financially and administratively autonomous, and is now set to begin deliberations on a second bill amending some provisions of the original National Health Scheme (Gesy) framework.
Speaking after the session, health minister Giorgos Pamboridis described co-operation with the committee as “productive” and noted that the required clarifications were offered in the session.
“I wish and hope that we will proceed swiftly so that the two bills will be forwarded to the plenum for a vote as soon as possible,” he said.
Asked whether the autonomy bill could be forwarded to the plenum separately, since discussion on it has been exhausted, Pamboridis said the parties’ decision had been that both bills must be forwarded simultaneously.
“Therefore, in parallel with discussion on the Gesy bill at parliament, we press ahead with preparing the relevant regulations, which include labour provisions, towards meeting the timeframe set,” the minister said.
“Realistically, I believe everything must be ready by the end of the year, so that, after the Christmas recess, parliament can deal in depth with the whole range of health reform bills.”
With regard to the wave of departures of doctors from state hospitals, Pamboridis said the effort is to stem the tide before hospital autonomy is introduced, with one tool to this end being appropriate adjustments on labour matters.
Deemed the single greatest reform project in the history of Cyprus, final decisions on the introduction of Gesy were made in two meetings President Nicos Anastasiades had with party leaders over the summer.
Pamboridis has recently stated the ultimate date for the full implementation is June 1, 2020. By June 2017 a public organisation will be set up which will oversee hospital autonomy, while by June 2019 outpatient care will be introduced.