Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Sunday praised the country’s national healthcare system (Gesy) for providing equal and quality services to citizens as Cyprus marks two years since its implementation.
“Those who doubted to a small or large degree the importance of Gesy should just go back and consider what the health sector was like two years ago,” Ioannou said in a statement. A small contribution that does not cause any major upheaval to a family budget allows all beneficiaries to have “access to quality health services, medicines through the ‘neighbourhood pharmacy’ institution as well as diagnostic and laboratory tests” without any insecurity, he added.
The large number of personal doctors, specialist doctors and private clinics that have joined mark a huge milestone while the government places a huge importance to the healthcare sector, allocating almost 10 per cent of its budget to the health ministry, amounting to almost €1bn, he added.
Over the past two years a total of 892,134 GeSY beneficiaries have joined a general practitioner (GP) and 801,107 beneficiaries have visited their personal doctor, in addition to 631,000 beneficiaries who have visited specialist doctors, 655,868 who received medication, 578,249 who have undergone laboratory tests and 76,873 who have received in-patient medical care service.
Ioannou said he recognised that the numbers were also an indication of abuse of the system but this was anticipated and recorded in all countries where a new health system was introduced. The Health Insurance Organisation took a number of steps and the problem has been alleviated but is still there.
“However, I would like to remind that abuses were recorded before the implementation of Gesy as well, when citizens were over-charged and over-indebted and with the state suffering serious losses from undeclared income, wasted money and several other ‘pathogens’.”
The two year mark set on June 1 is also met in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and according to Ioannou, without Gesy, tackling the health crisis would have been far more challenging without the databases with obligatory registration of all medical procedures as well as the contribution of GP’s who are also now vaccinating patients.
Though work still needs to be done and more specialisations need to be added, Cyprus has much to be proud of and the public has embraced Gesy.
“Two years later, we are confident enough over the path taken, the future of Gesy appears to be optimistic and we feel proud that despite the difficulties and, under extremely unfavourable conditions, we have implemented the decision for the health sectors big reform.”