Article by Dr. Chrysanthou (Athos) Georgiou – AKEL Political Bureau member and Head of AKEL‘s Health Policy
2 April 2023, “Haravgi” newspaper
Now that the noise of the presidential elections is over, now that the fake empty words and promises have done their job, let us look each other in the eye and speak the truth.
Since assuming the hot seat of the Health Ministry, the Health Minister has been careful to send a message in all directions about the “third world” state of public hospitals and that she is “ashamed to look people in the eye”. She spoke about the situation of hospitals, but in fact about health professionals too, about all those whom three years ago we all called heroes, who, under the weight of the pandemic, we all promised to subsequently support, because we all understood their social role and usefulness to public health and for the functioning of the National Health Scheme (GESY) itself.
AKEL should feel vindicated because at long last, even after 10 years, someone in charge has acknowledged the findings/conclusions that AKEL has been making all along. Unfortunately, the Minister’s statements have also provoked great concern. We tried to read behind the Minister’s statements. Is this the situation? Can it be improved or is the Health Minister simply using the familiar method used by others before her, saying in effect that “the situation is the fault of those who governed before us”?
Personally, I would like to give the Minister of Health credit for being honest and for actually making correct findings and that she shall seek to improve the situation.
It is clear that the President of the Republic is aware of the situation, given that he was part of the Anastasiades government that brought them to the “third world” situation [in the health sector]. I am also sure that after talking to the people on his way to the presidency, he has finally understood the situation and appointed someone to solve the problems that he and his party have created in public hospitals.
The first conclusion, therefore, is that the Christodoulides government is aware of the situation in which hospitals have found themselves and must provide immediate and practical solutions to these problems. The solutions must be feasible and with timeframes.
Does the courage exist to extend the funding of public hospitals beyond 2024 and at least for as many years as the pandemic has lasted?
Will it at long last proceed to replace the Board of Directors of the state health services (OKYPY) with people who know what health issues are and do not view them in financial terms?
Will the Minister of Health dare to improve the legislation of the Health Service?
Will she dare to proceed to substantially strengthen public hospitals with the construction of new buildings, the creation of beds, increase staff, acquire equipment and in such a way that public hospitals become the flagship in defining the quality of health care in our country?
Will she address the issue of establishing university Faculties in a positive way?
Will she at long last adopt a model of holistic education for health professionals?
Will she solve the problems of hospital emergency entrances?
Will she take a bold approach to advance the public health sector?
The questions are endless.
Time, which unfortunately the new Minister does not have, because solutions have already been delayed, will show whether there is the will to improve public hospitals, far from any big empty talk and communication games.
The only thing I can say with certainty is that AKEL will be following developments on health issues and public hospitals very closely. We will support actions that improve them, but we will also oppose moves that undermine them. Our sole motivation is the provision of quality health care to all citizens of Cyprus. For us Health is a Right and we will defend this right for all!

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