President Nicos Anastasiades hailed Monday as a historic day, which marked the full implementation of the national health scheme (Gesy) after efforts spanning decades.
In a televised address at lunchtime, the president said it was a day on which everyone should feel proud.
“It is a really historic day because we are realising a decades-old vision for our country as the general health system is complete with the start of its second phase,” the president said.
The second phase of the system entails secondary healthcare provision by hospitals, including major private facilities.
“It is my conviction that the best possible health service provision constitutes a state obligation but also a right for each citizen whom we – who hold positions of power — ought to serve with the utmost respect,” the president said.
Anastasiades said the island was at the stage of emerging from the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, the best moment after the health system gained the self-confidence it lacked to “make this big step and provide our fellow citizens the universal, effective, and unitary health system, which we envisioned for decades.”
The president conceded there will be difficulties initially, but they must be faced with patience and understanding by everyone.
Addressing healthcare workers, Anastasiades said the country trusted them.
“You proved that you deserve this trust. We will always be on your side to support this great effort to complete what is perhaps the biggest reform in the history of the Republic of Cyprus in the best way possible.”