Outgoing health minister Michalis Hadjipantela on Saturday called on his successor to embrace public hospitals and health professionals, underlining that public hospitals are the backbone of the health system.

Hadjipantela, visiting Paphos General Hospital, said that he was completing his round of visits to public hospitals, as he was also due to visit Limassol General Hospital later in the day.

The aim of the visits was to thank the staff and wish them success, but also to assure them that he will always be by their side, he said.

The minister also told those at the hospital he felt proud for what had been achieved during the 19 months of his term as minister, but also for the “excellent professionals” and colleagues who worked beside him, “day, night, Saturdays and holidays”.

It is for this reason, he said, that they were able to cope with the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that, when in other countries the health systems collapsed “in our country we had one of the best results in all of Europe”.

Hadjipantela said that the ministry has always had to manage difficult situations and cases, but, with cooperation, they always found solutions.

President-elect Nikos Christodoulides is expected to announce his cabinet on Monday as the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.