Public Hospitals are in a very serious state

Article by Giorgos T. Georgiou – AKEL Political Bureau member

22 April 2023, “Haravgi” newspaper

The public health system of any state depends primarily on how strong its public hospitals are. It has been stressed many times that public hospitals, our hospitals, constitute the backbone of the General Health System (GESY). In 2017, the legislation for the establishment of the GESY was passed in June and for this purpose, as pillars the Health Insurance Agency (OAY) and the State Health Services Agency (OKYPY) took on the work, which assumed the autonomy of public hospitals and their smooth operation, took on the task as pillars.

Almost six years have passed since then. Indeed, the GESY is perhaps the greatest social achievement of our people. This was highlighted and demonstrated during the pandemic, when public hospitals became the shield of protection and frontline of the people’s health. Our public hospitals, doctors and nurses, all those working in the public health sector, have often overstretched themselves to respond to the needs. In a short time the GESY has run smoothly, without any particular problems, and is today the main refuge of our patients, elderly and vulnerable and fragile groups.

Now is the time to evaluate and assess the role and mission of both the GESY and public hospitals. And I am sure that no logical person will be found either to diminish or even cancel the GESY in any way whatsoever. Certain theories propagated about the need for a multi-insurance scheme, a mini-GESY and other “novel” ideas that were aiming at undermining its character as a single-insurance scheme have been rejected in practice. Today we need to proceed further with more courage and determination to strengthen the GESY and public hospitals.

Recently, the new Minister of Health, Poppy Kanari, has made significant statements about both the Emergency Departments and the Limassol General Hospital in general. The problems, shortcomings and weaknesses are well known. More specifically:

1. Planning for the expansion and upgrading of the Limassol General Hospital is pending. The issue has been discussed for decades, both in Parliament and in the wider public arena, without any result. The Limassol General Hospital is suffocating, facing serious problems in its smooth operation.

2. Unstaffed clinics and a lack of qualified doctors has been observed, with the result that patients suffer daily, seeking solutions mainly in Nicosia.

3. The same and worse is happening with the staffing of nurses. A plethora of promises were made by the former government ruling forces with no real effect.

4. Similar problems with clerical and technical staff exist.

5. There is an absence of computerised systems, which causes increased operational costs, but also problems relating to scrutiny and administration.

AKEL will continue to consider public health and the continued support and upgrading of the public health system as a top priority. The health of the people is a pressing need to provide protection and AKEL will spare neither effort, nor sacrifice for this purpose.

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