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We need more rehabilitation centres.

Byline: Jacqueline Theodoulou

THE CHAIRMAN of the House Health Committee yesterday called for the immediate establishment of rehabilitation centres for patients with chronic diseases.

According to Eleni Theocharous of DISY, the Committee has decided to examine the possibility of a law establishing such centres, and she called on the Health Ministry to be prepared to purchase services from the private sector.

Theocharous said there was only one institution in Cyprus for the rehabilitation of chronic disease sufferers and disabled people, which is usually overcrowded, resulting in patients suffering from ridiculously long waiting lists.

"The problem is similar to the one that exists with cardiology clinics, for which we have seen no improvements of late," the DISY deputy pointed out. "Heart patients end up drowning in the waiting lists, waiting to be operated at Nicosia General Hospital's cardiology clinic, while private hospitals are carrying out far less operations than they have the ability to."

Theocharous also referred to "persistent rumours" claiming the Health Ministry was planning to send more heart patients abroad for treatment.

"We have no objection to easing the waiting lists by sending patients abroad. But the ministry should reconsider this policy, taking into consideration the contribution of private hospitals to our country's economy and the high level of services they offer," she pointed out.

The situation isn't any better for cancer patients, Theocharous added. The Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre has reached its limits, she explained, and it was time for the establishment of a further two cancer treatment centres, in Nicosia and Limassol.

Athena Kyriakidou of DIKO agreed: "It is unthinkable, unreasonable for a cancer patient from Limassol or Paphos to have to come to Nicosia in order to receive treatment," she said, adding that the increase in cancer cases demanded the creation of a second centre in Nicosia itself.

Kyriakidou also called on private hospitals in Cyprus to harmonise their prices with those of other European countries.

"Based on data submitted to the Committee, in Cyprus the prices [for heart surgery] are e1/41,000 to e1/42,000 higher than those of the Onasio Cardiology Centre in Athens," she said.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2008

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Oct 17, 2008
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