Cyprus health services will get an €80 million revamp through the Cyprus Tomorrow plan which includes the completion of the first phase of the long-awaited new mental hospital.

National health care services have improved in recent years, but there are still many actions needed to create a more effective and modern health care system, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday in his speech at the second presentation of the government’s €4 billion recovery and resilience scheme Cyprus Tomorrow.

During the event, the president referred to the policies implemented by the state in the last decade in the health sector and announced plans to boost the health system through the scheme.

“Particular emphasis is placed on strengthening public and private hospitals to make them even more competitive and able to cope with any future crises, including the use of smart technologies to handle emergencies effectively,” Anastasiades said.

Makarios children hospital will receive €23 million with the aim of managing all cases for children, while the plan will also fund the first phase of the creation of a new mental health hospital worth €6.8 million.

The facility “is expected to solve the huge and chronic problem of inadequate facilities that currently exist,” Anastasiades said.

He added that dialysis units will be created or expanded in all public hospitals with €6 million, while Limassol and Paphos general hospitals will be upgraded at a cost of €4.7 million.

Innovative information and communication technologies system will be introduced providing for the use of application programming interfaces in the health sector, a project amounting to €11.4 million.

Medical equipment in private hospitals will be replaced with the focus on the purchase of high tech or digital equipment worth €5 million while another €4.5 million will be dedicated to digitise patients’ physical records.

Some €4.3 million will be provided from the plan to create new facilities and introduce modern technology for the blood centre and €3 million to establish a national centre for clinical documentation with the aim of adopting international guidelines, recognised standards and clinical protocols.

Through the plan, generic cross-border eHealth services, worth €1.9 million, will also be developed.

The government understands people’s right “as an obligation of the state,” Anastasiades said, listing implemented and ongoing projects to establish a modern and resilient health system with quality services.

“We sought to create a patient-centred health system, ensuring fair and equal access to quality health services for all. A system that is socially inclusive, rational, functional and sustainable.”

He divided the projects and reforms into five pillars, namely the radical policies for the creation of an efficient health system such as the implementation of Gesy and eHealth as well as the expansion of the operation of health centres, the government’s investments in the health sector amounting €1.05 billion in 2022 and the drug policy which saw a 60 per cent increase in the prescription list compared with 2013.

The fourth pillar concerns 14 national health strategies and policies that include support for specific patient groups such as people with diabetes, rare diseases and cancer while the fifth concerns the management of the pandemic. According to the president, the expenses for the hospitalisation, testing and vaccination of residents surpassed €280 million, while targeted schemes to support businesses, employers and the unemployed amounted to over €3 billion.

“Based on what I have said, I believe that our country has managed in recent years…to raise the level of health services provided to the benefit of every citizen-patient,” Anastasiades said, noting that “there are still problems, weaknesses and actions that need to be taken to create an even more effective and modern health care system.”