CYPRUS: Landmark GHS undergoes first serious stress test

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Cyprus’ new General Healthcare System launched on June 1 with minor issues, but Monday saw the first real test for the new scheme.

The early problems have mainly been at local pharmacists where the software failed to work on several occasions but the Health Ministry announced that the system worked perfectly.

As stated by HIO officials, issues occurring at pharmacists had to do with technical problems, as a number of pharmacists have not completed their connection to the GHS system.

The real test for the newly launched national health system is Monday as the system will be tested on a working day.

On Saturday, 735 patients paid a visit to doctors registered with the GHS with 428 prescriptions and 120 reference notes for blood analysis being issued.

According to the Health Insurance Organisation, 364 doctors were on call, out of which 110 were pediatricians and 216 specialists.

The HIO is optimistic that the software system will work smoothly board member Michalis Michael told Stockwatch.

He noted that the system was tested repeatedly in extreme scenarios and the results, as he noted, were excellent.

"Based on indications given by General Practitioners, the number of patients expected to visit them is expected to be very high,” said Michael.

He also added that HIO personnel and health workers, including doctors, will increase to provided better services to patients.

To date, 358 GPs, 105 pediatricians, 53 specialists, 220 pharmacies, 29 clinical laboratories have been contracted to the HIO.

Meanwhile, another 67 GPs, 17 pediatricians, 500 specialists, 33 clinical laboratories and 207 pharmacies are also to be contracted.

Replying to concerns over drug shortages, President of the HIO, Thomas Antoniou said currently there are 1000 drugs available for GHS patients, with another 500 being added to the list over the coming weeks.

The GHS will be implemented in two phases. The first phase launched June 1, out-patient care services were introduced, namely General Practitioners and specialists, laboratory examinations and drug distribution.

The second phase will be implemented on June 1, 2020 with all other services being introduced, including hospital inpatient care.