The implementation of the second phase of the General Health System has been postponed by three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to State Health Organisation acting director, Andreas Papaconstantinou.
He told CNA that instead of launching on June 1, if all goes well, it will start on September 1.
The second and final stage of the GHS implementation, initially set to begin June 1, 2020, includes introduction of all the remaining healthcare services, i.e. inpatient healthcare and services, services offered by allied health professionals (clinical dieticians, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, and clinical psychologists), nurses and midwifes, the accident and emergency departments, ambulance services, dentists, palliative healthcare services and medical rehabilitation services.
The issue will be discussed at a meeting of the organisation’s Executive Council which will be called to ratify the decision, he said.
He added the meeting will be held on Monday where the organisation will examine a report on the readiness to implement the second phase as well as the financial situation. Most likely, there will be a three-month delay, he said.
Papaconstantinou said the programming has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The first phase, he said, will continue but for the second phase, planning has been affected.
Contributions from the private sector go through the Income Tax and those from government employees through the Treasury.
Papaconstantinou said the first phase of GeSY helped greatly in handling the pandemic. Imagine, he added, what would have happened if “we had the old regime, where a huge number of patients went to state pharmacies in queues to get their medicines”.
Now, he added, there is unhindered access to medicines through private pharmacies. We have taken advantage of all the potential of private pharmacies on a nationwide basis, and no one has a problem with access to pharmacies, he said.
He added that this is a great advantage not only for the people but also for their personal self-protection.
At the same time, the involvement of personal doctors has helped as people are turning to them for a proper assessment of their health, and if they deem a case suspicious, the personal doctor will himself call the 1420 hotline, he said.