The finance ministry finds itself “in disagreement” with the health ministry regarding the future of the ambulance service, after the latter suggested its operations should be moved under its own umbrella.
Currently, the ambulance service falls under the administration of state health services (Okypy), but the health ministry has proposed for it to be directly operated by the ministry itself.
Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, sources from the finance ministry said they are currently “in discussions” with the health ministry on the matter.
They added that they “have reservations regarding the economic consequences of such a move”.
“We must think about the economy, and think about the financial situations of both organisations, the health ministry and Okypy,” they said.
“We have to ensure that it will offer economic benefits for both organisations, and at this moment in time we have our reservations, and we have our concerns as to whether that will be the case.”
In addition, they said the situation may change but that the discussions between the ministries are ongoing.
Sources from the health ministry confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that the law is set to be submitted to a cabinet meeting for discussion at the highest level.
Asked what the reason behind the proposed change would be, health ministry sources said “other countries in the European Union which have equivalent healthcare systems have their ambulance services under the umbrella of their health ministries.
“We believe it would be more correct if we followed that example and also had our health ministry administrate the ambulance service here.”
Reports suggest that Okypy currently earns around €16 million per year through operating accident and emergency departments, and that this income plays a large role in ensuring the organisation’s solvency.
It is believed, therefore, that transferring administration of the ambulance service to the health ministry would negatively impact the finances of Okypy, and therefore require the state to spend more on ensuring the organisation’s survival.
This figure could not be confirmed by either ministry to the Cyprus Mail.