Cyprus Mail

Faulty filing highlights chaotic health system, says Akel

The overflowing patient records' room at Limassol general hospital

Main opposition Akel leader Andros Kyprianou on Wednesday said Limassol hospital had so little space that staff could not find patients’ files when they need them.

During a visit to the hospital, and meeting with the management, he said the government needed to realise it must spend money on the health sector so that it can function properly.

For instance, the filing room was totally inadequate, he said.

“Patients cannot visit doctors because the files with their medical records can’t be located and there is no patient history doctors can rely on it to draw safe conclusions,” he said.

The visit, he said was part of a programme of visits to all hospital by a party delegation to evaluate healthcare and to see how plans for hospital autonomy – part of the new health system Gesy – were progressing and “whether public hospitals will be viable when it comes to autonomy and what prospects are for implementation of Gesy,” he said.

The problems at Limassol General Hospital, Kyprianou said, were similar to those of other public hospitals but the state of the filing system revealed a “huge lack of spac”e at Limassol, he added.

“This hospital cannot continue to operate like this and it should be a priority for the health ministry.”

“If we really want to move on to a new era in the health sector, the government should realise that it will have to spend money.”

In April this year, lawmakers began discussion of a bill on e-health, where the medical records of patients will be entered into a database accessible via electronic health cards.

Under the envisaged system, patients visiting their doctor will present their e-health card, which the physician will use to access a database.

The database will contain all the medical information on a patient, including diagnoses, medical treatments, medicine prescriptions and surgeries.

Insurance-related data will also be included. An electronic file would be created for a person the minute they are born.

The e-health law will apply to all healthcare providers – public and private – also regulating cross-border medical treatment in the European Economic Area.

Digitisation was expected to take one to two years.

The estimated cost for the Health Insurance Organisation will be some €50m, and around €70m for hospitals.

The stated goal is to improve efficiency by streamlining patients’ data and eliminating the use of paper. MPs intend to fast-track the legislation so that implementation of e-health can start sometime this year.

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