President: ‘Health system better than it ever was’

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The government has delivered a modern and resilient healthcare system with quality treatment for all, said President Nicos Anastasiades during an event to review his 10-year administration.

He said launching the General Healthcare System (GHS) was the largest reform in the history of the Republic of Cyprus.

“Predictions of collapse or failure of the effort to modernise the health sector were disproved with the implementation of the Plan, the public and gradually health professionals began to embrace it,” said Anastasiades.

He said 85% of all doctors, 96% of clinical laboratories, 97% of pharmacies and 58 hospitals are contracted to the GHS, covering about 90% of the total number of available beds.

“The government has taken actions to combat exploitation and eliminate corruption.

“A bill to introduce the institution of the “Patient Advocate” and purchase special software further strengthens the protection network.

“Implementation of the innovative e-Health system, which will be fully operational in December 2024, will provide electronic access to all necessary information on patient medical records.”

He said 14 out of the 38 health centres across Cyprus currently operate until 7.30 pm, while another eight centres in rural areas operate on a 24-hour basis.

An Ambulance Call Control Coordinating Centre, which operates on a 24-hour basis nationwide, and 13 new ambulance stations were established.

“Strengthening ambulance staffing has halved the response time over the last decade.”

“It is noteworthy that the budget of the Health Ministry is €1.05 billion, constituting 15% of the total state budget, while the ministry’s budget for 2013 was €585 million, constituting 5.6% of the total budget.”

Anastasiades said more investment had gone into public hospitals, and compared to 2008-12, average annual expenditure on medical equipment increased by 85%.

He referred to the recent OXFAM 2021 report, which credited Cyprus for the significant increase in investment in the health sector; compared to 161 countries surveyed, it recorded the largest increase in spending from 2020.

“The government reviews the prices of medicines annually, as opposed to previous years when this was not done, strengthening the prescription list, which now includes 2,100 pharmaceutical products, compared to the 1,300 in 2013.

“And the cost of purchasing medicines by the Health Insurance Organisation in 2021 amounted to €231 million, of which the costs borne by patients was only €34 million.”

He said the government has also raised greater awareness and focused strategies on prevention, early diagnosis, and improving access to treatment for diabetes, cancer, thalassaemia and dementia.

Anastasiades also praised his government’s management of the pandemic.

“A crisis our small country has managed to respond to better than countries with stronger and longer-lasting health systems”.

An extra €80 mln will be spent to increase the general healthcare system’s preparedness, resilience, and quality of services.

Public hospitals will also be improved and upgraded and creating a mental health clinic.

“I believe that our country has managed in recent years, thanks to the bold and targeted policies we have adopted…to raise the level of health services provided to the benefit of every citizen.

“There are still problems, weaknesses and actions that need to be taken to create an even more effective, modern health system, a resilient health system that will follow best practices based on the world’s leading systems.”