The state health services (Okypy) has vowed significant spending on the national health service Gesy with a projected €250 million for 2022-2024, while also acknowledging complaints and the need to constantly improve.
Its development plans were outlined on Wednesday by Kypros Stavrides, Okypy executive director, who emphasised that the organisation welcomes criticism – stating that every small improvement works towards the overall goal of benefiting the recipients.
Towards that aim, he said that Okypy is working to ensure its financial autonomy – an issue which has provoked the outrage of the auditor general – along with bolstering its core services. Those include afternoon hours, sorting out staffing issues and digital upgrades.
These changes, Stavrides said, will ensure that Okypy’s facilities can compete on an equal footing with those in the private sector.
“Complaints and criticisms will never go away, for as long as there is the need for doctors and hospitals,” he said, but added that the organisation is constantly improving and maturing.
He explained that €100m will be spent on equipment while €150m will be spent on infrastructure – noting that many buildings are old and must be updated.
“No one wants our hospitals operating within obsolete buildings, nor our doctors to be working in such challenging conditions and in outdated facilities,” he said.
And while Stavrides emphasised that their work will never be fully complete – there will always be room to improve, and this takes time – he pointed to major developments which have been achieved.
He said that work has begun on the new mental health hospital, costed at €10m, and is set to be handed over within 2024.
There has been a string of controversies over mental health care and support, primarily centred on Athalassa hospital. It was constructed in 1964 and parts of it were declared unfit for human habitation by the town planning department in 2019.
Elsewhere, the Akaki health centre is also on the horizon, costing €4m, while the new dialysis unit at Paphos general hospital, costing €4.7m, is set to be completed at the beginning of 2023. The Famagusta general hospital’s dialysis unit is to be further improved at a cost of €940,000.
The Troodos hospital at Kyperounta has received a €4.5m injection which saw the completion of its pulmonology clinic along with its A&E department being updated. The Geroskipou health centre cost €1.15m.
Stavrides further detailed that Okypy spent €19m on medical equipment in 2021, such as ultrasound products across the organisation’s clinics – satisfying 55 such requests at a cost of €6m.
Limassol general hospital received magnetic resonance imaging equipment at a cost of €1.4m, while both the Limassol and Nicosia general hospitals were updated with state-of-the-art angiographic systems – at a cost of €3m.
Stavrides’ announcement to the press came amid criticism that the unlikelihood of Okypy attaining financial autonomy by June 2024 is due to waste and mismanagement.