Health Minister Georgios Pamborides said there are forces working through the political parties to hold up the national healthcare bills pending in front of the House of Representatives and that it’s time to drop the masks, reports Phileleftheros.

Just 46.5 percent of the public budget is spent on healthcare, and households are forced to pay around 49 percent of their income for private doctors and insurance bills. Those who can’t afford it have to take their chances in the under-resourced public hospitals. This is far away from the EU norm, where state’s spend is upwards of 60 percent and over on the public healthcare sector and households spend just 10 percent on private healthcare resources.

What it means for the patient in the public healthcare system is a shortage of doctors, nurses, beds and technology, resulting in serious problems and risks to their lives. The House of Representatives should be made to walk the route taken by each patient in the public hospitals; long waits in drafty, unfriendly lobbies, sporadic attention, a lack of follow-up care and a process of passing the buck because the staff are simply too overwhelmed and under-resourced to really do their jobs effectively.

Unethical

The thought that there are selfish and greedy motives behind the blockages to the healthcare bills is sickening. The thought that there is a lobby acting unethically to prevent more spending on good-quality and organised healthcare in the public sector is truly worrying. The idea that people are dying or being made even sicker because the resources are not there to help them is disgusting. The House of Representatives are public representatives, not lobbyists, and they should be thinking of the public interest above all else.

The Finance Ministry has demanded another survey of the state’s finances because of the scheme’s 4.5 percent contribution from taxpayer’s funds, compared to the 2.5 percent from the employer and 2.9 percent from the employee. The Pancyprian Medical Association is also objecting to the new bills.

This is surprising because the plan has already been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, including Finance Minister Haris Georgiades. Bottom line, the state’s funds are contributed by taxpayers – the same taxpayers who need reliable and quality healthcare – so this latest delay for a rational, nationwide healthcare system is disturbing. The plan is based on recommendations from Troika experts, but has not moved forward in spite of the desperate need.

The population here is small, and each individual’s life and health is important to their families and to the economy. It’s time the elected officials and civil servants take the matter in hand and deal with it as if it were their own loved ones who are going to benefit from the national health scheme. As if it’s their mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters who will be treated in one of the state hospitals. As if taxpayer’s money should be reinvested in infrastructure that will benefit them long term. They need to deal with it and pass the new laws providing comprehensive, effective and quality healthcare for everyone yesterday, for the sake of present and future generations.

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