The continuous upgrading of the national health scheme is necessary to provide the best quality health services, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Saturday.

In his address at the second scientific conference of the patients’ association (Osak) held in Nicosia, the president said providing high quality health services is a “multidimensional challenge with a collective responsibility of all stakeholders and each of us individually”.

“It is necessary, apart from preserving the philosophy of the general health system, to work constantly – because there is always room for improvement of the general health system – with the aim of providing citizens with the best possible access to quality health services,” he said.

Actions are being implemented which have as their main objective the strengthening of the services offered, he added. These concern the accreditation of hospitals, the replacement and purchase of new innovative medical equipment and medical science which is something that is evolving.

The president also mentioned that the plans for quality health services include the examination of the non-prescription drug provision plan with targeted support to low-income pensioners for the supply of medicines not covered by Gesy.

Actions are underway towards strengthening outpatient services and evening surgeries in public hospitals and improving the accident and emergency departments. Those, the president said, are aimed at institutionalizing procedures, the development of relevant protocols, the designation of a medical specialist during peak hours, the reinforcement of these services with additional doctors and secretarial staff, the training of nurses, as well as the improvement of procedures for laboratory and radiological examinations.

“The required continuous upgrading of the health system requires in addition to the conferences… data analysis, the introduction of quality indicators and effective supervision,” he said.

He explained that the health sector and the policies implemented around it are of paramount importance for the well-being of a people and their quality of life and to a large extent “reflect the social sensitivity that should characterize every government and every state”.

“In our governance programme, the health sector is one of the most important policy pillars and, together with the education sector, they constitute for us two of the most basic cores of the people-centred development model that we envision to achieve through our governance,” he noted.

Referring to Gesy, Christodoulides said it is imperative to have a framework to effectively manage the challenges that arise from such a major reform.

He assured that there is no thought of changing the philosophy of the health system, stressing that “anyone who attempts to change the philosophy of the Gesy will find us against him”.

The Osak conference attended international experts while during the event, the awards for patient advocate were awarded.

Osak chairman, Marios Koulouma highlighted the importance of collaboration among all stakeholders for the improvement and sustainability of Gesy.

As regards to the current needs of the system, Koulouma referred to the development of an integrated policy and regulation of issues related to clinical and medical control, as well as clinical evaluation systems, the evaluation of health technology, and the promotion of the use of health care technology in the health care system.

“High quality standards should be set and performance and quality indicators should be introduced at all levels, as well as to beat abuse and overuse of the system,” he added.