Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou conceded on Monday that public hospitals still had problems some five months after Gesy came into force, but changes were being made and time was needed to change the civil service mentality.
“It is not easy to change mentality from one day to the next,” Ioannou told the House finance committee, which examined his ministry’s budget for 2020. “It is a change of corporate culture, abandoning the restrictive civil service operation framework, and this takes time.”
However, the minister added, changes were being effected and efforts were ongoing.
“As regards primary healthcare, which is something tangible and we can judge, at the moment the number of beneficiaries registered at (state) health centres is very close to the average number of beneficiaries shared by every doctor in the system.”
The ministry’s budget is up by about €156m on 2019 and at €926m it constitutes 10.6 per cent of the state budget.
Around €418m is the state’s contribution to Gesy.
Iannou said the increased budget would be beneficial to state hospitals, both in terms of staff but also infrastructure and equipment.
Of staff shortages in the A&E departments, the minister said contracts have been offered and accepted and it was expected for doctors to join the hospitals gradually by January.
He said it took time between a departure and recruitment and that was why shortages were experienced in the departments.
There was, however, a lot of interest from Greek medics to work in Cyprus, not just in A&E departments, Ioannou said.
The 2020 budget also shows an €62m reduction in the cost of medicines, concerning products that will be recompensed by the health insurance organisation in the second phase of the system’s implementation that will also include secondary care starting June.