On the occasion of the adoption by the Council of Ministers of the bills on the autonomy of state hospitals and General Health Scheme (GHS), AKEL declares that we will judge them and formulate our position according to their content when these bills will have been tabled in the House of Representatives. Of course we take note today of the the Health Minister’s statements denouncing vested interests that do not want the implementation of the GHS, something which AKEL had been denouncing long ago. We hope that the bills as they will be submitted will be in line with the logic that has been decided for the GHS. As AKEL, we support a GHS that will protect citizen’s health, provide equal and dignified access to quality health care and a GHS that will ensure dignified and safe working conditions for professionals and staff in the health sector. And of course we support a GHS that will not surrender and hand over the public wealth and property of state hospitals, in the short or long term, to big private capital.
At the same time, we say to the Minister of Health that the government still hasn’t taken any practical steps. Three months after the first meeting at the Presidential Palace, which the President of the Republic was forced to convene, too little has been done to alleviate the problems of the day-today life for patients and health personnel and staff. No doctors have been hired, something which the President had pledged to do. The under-staffing is evident. Departments such as the state oncology centre of Nicosia are closing down and the budgets that have been tabled do not show the way to reform. Unfortunately the issues concerning labour relation, or understaffing remain, as well as the low staff morale, the result of understaffing and poor working conditions.
AKEL warns that the continued and prolonged failure to address and solve the problems in the Health sector is a blow to reform. The autonomy of public state hospitals which does not pass through the transitional stage of reorganization leads precisely to the collapse of the already impoverished hospitals. Moreover, the European Commission’s Report on health is revealing, given that it acknowledges what Cypriot citizens experience every day, that is to say that the health sector is in a state of decay. The government’s responsibility for this situation is huge.
Statement by Aristos Damianou, AKEL Political Bureau member and MP