By Evie Andreou
Representatives of the Social Alliance for the Implementation of the National Health Scheme, Gesy, delivered a memo on Friday morning to House Speaker Demetris Syllouris urging MPs to vote the bills that pave the way for the much-awaited health reform.
The two government bills that will be discussed and put to vote by the House plenum on Friday, one creates the institutional and operational framework for a national health scheme while the second provides for the establishment of a single public-law entity responsible for the operation of all public hospitals and primary healthcare providers.
The bills have the necessary parliamentary support and are expected to pass.
The Social Alliance – consisted of patients’ and consumers’ associations, and left-wing and right-wing trade unions, and representing some 200,000 Cypriots – earlier in the month launched an online signature campaign to raise as much support as possible for the implementation of Gesy.
The civil society group says the existing system has collapsed and it is determined to put the public’s needs first by pushing for Gesy which should have been up and running in 2008.
The resolution, urged political parties “to show respect for society’s demand for the introduction of Gesy, based on the principles of equal and universal access to the human right of health and social solidarity”.
“May this day marks the historic point for the upgrade of healthcare services to our co-citizens and our country,” said the head of the paraplegics’ association, Demetris Lambrianides.
The head of leftist workers’ union PEO, Pambis Kyritsis, said that the civil society group expectED that MPs would keep their word and vote the bills in question, but that this would be just the beginning of a long road.
“We know however that the implementation of Gesy is not just about today’s (plenum) vote but that it is mainly about a constant struggle for its implementation,” Kyritsis said.
He said that the group would monitor the implementation process, to avoid any interests that may hinder its progress.
The general secretary of right-wing workers’ union Sek, Andreas Matsas, stressed the need for the introduction of a “socially just general health system that can… meet the needs of society as a whole, starting with today’s patients and ending up with every next generation”.
Syllouris said that the Social Alliance was instrumental in getting MPs to push forward with the health reform.
“There are (more) bills that must be voted still, regulations, there is practical work that needs to be done and we must all work on this together,” Syllouris said.