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Health minister says he’s been threatened over national health scheme

Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides

Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis said on Thursday that he had received threats from people who oppose the introduction a national health scheme (Gesy).

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Pamboridis said that he had received threats from those who believe that Gesy would harm their interests. He refrained from revealing more or naming them.

Two bills – more will follow later – on reforms rendering state hospitals administratively and financially autonomous, as well as provisions of Gesy, were approved by the cabinet last October and are currently under discussion at the House health committee.

Pamboridis said that now it was up to political parties which, he said, could derail the health reforms.

Under the terms of its bailout deal, Cyprus was supposed to offer a national healthcare scheme by 2015, but dates have been constantly pushed back since then. A major reason for the delay is that the autonomy of state hospitals, which is a prerequisite of Gesy, is still pending.

Pamboridis said last year that the final date for full implementation is June 1, 2020. According to the roadmap, by June 2017 a public organisation will be set up which will oversee hospital autonomy, and by June 2019 outpatient care will be introduced.

Following a discussion of the two bills at the House health committee on Thursday, Akel MP Giorgos Georgiou said that if the ministry in charge had made clarifications concerning contributions, hospital autonomy and employment conditions after hospital autonomy kicks in, “the national health scheme could have been approved even yesterday”.

“Once the ministry informs the House health committee – and the political parties – on all these issues, then, of course, it will be possible to promote the bill in question to the plenary,” Georgiou said.

The aim, he said, was to ensure that the Gesy bill has solid bases “so that it can have a present, a future and a prospect”.

Solidarity Movement MP, Giorgos Papadopoulos, said that it was imperative to proceed with the introduction of a health scheme as soon as possible “even with mistakes and weaknesses as it is in the best interest of everyone”.

 

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