Health Minister Popi Kanari has said the new government’s highest priority is the strengthening of the national health system Gesy, which has been dogged by negative publicity over the past couple of years.

She said the doors of her office are always open for the discussion of the key problems in the health system and for review of the various national strategies.

“The implementation of the biggest reform in our country, in the health sector, was the introduction of Gesy June 1, 2019,” she said.

“It opened new horizons in the field of providing medical care and our highest priority is to strengthen it, to continuously improve practices and correct distortions, where and where they exist, in order for it to operate in a highly functional, efficient and financially sustainable manner.”

Kanari was speaking at the 15th Cypriot-Hellenic Cardiology Congress, in Nicosia.

The conference, which is co-organised by the Cardiology Societies of Cyprus and Greece was the first in-person event over the past three years due to pandemic restrictions.

Kanari said that deaths from heart disease remain the number one cause of death in Europe and is a “particular challenge for any health system”.

“It is the number one public health threat in almost every country,” she said.

Kanari said that in 2019, the incidence of heart disease in Cyprus and Greece was around 10 per cent of their populations. Across Europe it’s higher average at 20 per cent, she said “which shows that we are working in the right direction”.

At the same time, she added: “We must focus on prevention and listen to the concerns of patients, whose ‘reasonable wants’ must be translated, where possible, into policies and also act as a compass for our decisions and actions”.

“We must take advantage of the manageable sizes of our countries to successfully lead the two countries to 2030 and the achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals,” she added.