Hospital autonomy – a key feature of the National Health Scheme – is progressing smoothly despite the obstacles some are throwing in its way, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday.
The minister, along with a delegation from the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), briefed President Nicos Anastasiades, on progress in the implementation of the health scheme (Gesy) and on consultations currently underway with private doctors and members of the pharmaceutical sector.
Ioannou reiterated that the goal was to introduce Gesy as planned with phase one covering inpatient care to kick in on June 1, 2019.
“Despite obstacles some insist on putting forth, the procedure for the autonomy of state hospitals is progressing smoothly,” Ioannou said.
The minister also confirmed that two members of the board of the state health service organisation (Okyy) – tasked with overseeing the implementation of hospital autonomy – have resigned, but that this was due to work load.
According to media reports, the two board members had resigned due to problems within Okyy.
But Ioannou said that that the resignations were due to work load and personal reasons. The first board of the Okyy was appointed last December to serve a five-year term. It is chaired by Sir David Nicholson, former chief executive of NHS England, and its members were businessmen Anastasios David and Nikolas Shiacolas, professor David Anthony Haslam, chartered accountant Marios Klitou and Dr Peter Martin Dawson. The permanent secretaries of the health and finance ministries are also ex officio board members.
He said that Klitou resigned a month and a half ago and David more recently.
“After a few months, some are assessing the demands and what they can offer and make their decisions accordingly. It is nothing to worry about. Of course, it is not something that pleases us, but they have been replaced and the organisation is proceeding normally with its work,” he said. He did not mention who replaced the two former members.
In a tweet referring to the resignations by former health minister, Giorgos Pamboridis, he spoke cryptically of a “deep state” within the health ministry. Ioannou said that he did not wish to comment.
He also refrained from commenting on whether he too has witnessed forces within his ministry that were trying to sabotage Gesy.