Cyprus’ new public General Health System will not be postponed, Health Ministery Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday.
The first phase of the GHS is set to get underway on June 1 and will be become fully operational by June 1, 2020.
The government has been facing criticism by members of the public, some medical professionals and politicians who argue that the GHS has serious deficiencies. They say that the number of doctors who have registered to provide their services under the system is not enough to cater for the population and have claimed that there is a lack of medicine in public pharmacies, among others.
“If one of the Parliamentary parties wishes to request a postponement of the GHS, of course it can do so and, as in all issues, it will have to be held accountable to citizens,” the Minister said.
“I urge everyone to rise to the occasion and be patient and understand the gravity and necessity of this radical reform for the whole of society,” he added.
Ioannou described GHS as the”biggest social change” of the past 40 years. “Health is a matter that affects everyone, regardless of political beliefs,” he said.
Criticism from doctors
In a written statement to the Health Insurance Organisation (OAY) on Wednesday, vice-president of Dysi and MP Nikos Nouris said that the GHS has “serious operational problems which will certainly create malfunctions to doctors, pharmacists, clinical labs and above all patients.” He later clarified that he was speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the party and added that his intervention aimed at ensuring the successful implementation of the GHS.
The Cyprus Medical Association which has criticised the GHS before, said that Nouris’ statement “comes as no surprise” but demanded the “immediate implementation” of the system as “there are human lives” involved.
However, they asked “why did it have to come to the final day to reach the conclusion that basic aspects of the system are problematic?”
Yesterday, Phileleftheros reported that non-Cypriots and Cypriots born before 1960 are facing issues registering with GHS due to incompatibility between processes of OAY and the Civil Registry and Migration Department.