Statements by Stefanos Stefanou, General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL after the meeting with the state health services OKYPY
1 February 2024, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
Our meeting with the Organisation of State Health Services (OKYPY) is part of the meetings AKEL is currently holding with all interested parties and all those who are involved in the public health structure.
OKYPY has a very decisive role to play as regards public hospitals. AKEL’s position is that public hospitals should constitute the backbone of the General Health System (GESY) and public health in general.
That’s precisely the reason why public hospitals are in the hands of OKYPY and it is their work that determines whether public hospitals within a competitive environment will be able to fulfill the role they should play so that we have a System that ensures the implementation of GESY’s character and philosophy. That is to say, a System that can provide universal access to beneficiaries, for quality health services and care. This is the goal and public hospitals must play a leading role in achieving this goal.
This is a year in which the period of state support provided towards public hospitals ends in May.
AKEL’s position, which we have outlined and reiterated today, is that the period of the state’s support for public hospitals must be extended, at least for the period when public hospitals took on all the responsibility in addressing and combating the pandemic. At the same time, time should be used to do what has not been done so far and what needs to be done in public hospitals so as to enable them to perform the role that we have said.
The second thing we discussed is the issues related to staff in public hospitals, the people who are in the front line from different areas and posts to make public hospitals operate.
AKEL’s position is that regulated labour relations must be safeguarded. There should be collective agreements, as well as a framework established that creates both security for people and a perspective. If we want to have people working and supporting the whole system, if we want to avoid what has been happening for too long with the drain of considerable numbers of staff from public hospitals to the private sector, we must ensure regulated labour relations and the application of collective agreements.
We also discussed a number of other important issues concerning public hospitals with OKYPY. I would like to recall that we as a Party made a comprehensive assessment of the first years of the implementation of GESY, probably the greatest social achievement in Cyprus, which must be supported, while the problems and shortcomings must be addressed and at the same time the System must be further developed.
We are waiting to meet the new Minister of Health and subsequently the President of the Republic because we believe that at the critical crossroads where the whole System is currently at, there are issues that will need the intervention of the President of the Republic himself so that solutions can be found so that we can move forward.