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Island's health services tragic.

OPPOSITION DISY deputy Eleni Theocharous yesterday called the island's health services a tragedy after Cyprus slipped from 13th to 21st place in the Euro Health Consumer Index.

Speaking at a news conference, Theocharous, a doctor said: "The information provided by the report is indicative of the tragedy in Cypriot healthcare.

Theocharous said the report, published in November evaluated the quality of health services for 33 different areas.

Cyprus has slipped in several areas, according to the DISY deputy.

She said these included the rights of patients and information for citizens, the waiting time for access to health services, the subsequent results, the range of services available and the accessibility to them. It also included pharmaceutical coverage.

"Of the 33 indicators assessed in the Euro Health Consumer Index, Cyprus has a good rating in six areas, moderate in 11, poor in 13 important areas," she said.

These included times and waiting lists for surgery, diagnostic tests and hospital-acquired infections, eye surgery and dental care.

No information was provided in another four areas where services are inadequate, she added. These included mammography and services for cancer survivors who had reached the five-year benchmark.

Theocharous said that while the Minister of Health himself often shrugged off the many problems and shortcomings of his staff of his Ministry, it was the general attitude of the Government in its treatment of many of these problems that was disturbing.

She referred to extensive information on a number of problems that she herself and her party had identified, saying that multiple complaints were received daily.

Government services had reached the limits of their capabilities, and while the private sector was providing easier, faster and more effective services, it continued to be too expensive for the majority of Cypriots, she said.

"The Ministry of Health has so far failed in its objective to reorganise itself and this is due to its persistent refusal to the Ministry of Finance to cooperate," she added.

"Patients are suffering unimaginably when resorting to emergency services with waiting times of up to 15 hours to be ensured a bed."

With regard to the treatment of cancer patients she said the situation was drastic, with the Oncology Centre having reached its limits of strength and capacity, while its counterpart at the Limassol Hospital was understaffed.

The Euro Health Consumer Index's top ranked countries were the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Copyright [c] Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Feb 7, 2009
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