The budget of OKYPY and OAY was discussed today by the Health Committee of the Parliament, in order for the proposals to be led to a vote by the Plenary on 17 February. Sympathy for the overall upgrade of the health system in the country was recorded between the representatives of the Agencies and the representatives of the Parliament.
The budget of OAU for 2022 amounts to € 502 million, as Marios Panagidis, Chairman of the Board, said during his speech at the meeting. of OKYPY. “This revenue includes for the first time an amount of € 120 million from public health services, services of general economic interest and other services provided by the organization to other parts of the Government”, Mr. Panagidis explained.
“Considering that the Operating Expenses for the year, which do not include capital expenditures, are estimated at € 498 million, it is expected that for 2022 the Agency will present a small operating surplus of € 4 million. According to the plans of OKYPY, “Operating surpluses are expected to increase in the coming years and amount to € 16.5 million in 2023 and € 26.5 million in 2024”, he added in his statements, after the end of the meeting.
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As Mr. Panagidis explained, for the three years 2022 – 2024, the Management of the Organization has prepared an ambitious program of capital expenditures totaling approximately € 250 million, of which € 100 million for equipment and € 150 million for the upgrade and expansion of its building infrastructure.
These investments, he added, will be financed, in addition to the operating surpluses of the Organization, by the Fund for Recovery and Sustainability but also through State Sponsorship during this period, through which the practical support of the State for the upgrade of services is shown. Health provided by the Agency.
The planning until 2023 is estimated to bring the organization closer to the goal of Financial Autonomy, ensuring the faithful implementation of the actions of the Business Plan, to improve the services provided and upgrade the infrastructure, concluded the Chairman of the Board of OKYPY.
After questions from the members of the Health Committee, regarding the list of ten projects that are pending and for which a letter was sent by the Minister. Health, Mr. Panagidis promised to present the course of the Business Plan within the coming weeks.
He explained, however, that for the implementation of the projects, the creation of a Technical Department and a Department of Offers and Purchases has proceeded, which can operate independently. In addition, he said, there will be Project Managers, ie teams of engineers and architects, for the design of projects and the preparation of bids, while it is not ruled out that help may be sought from foreign experts.
Kypros Stavridis, Deputy General Manager of OKYPY, during the meeting of the Committee stated that the Organization will request the approval of a fund of € 35 million for the period 2020-22, for the upgrade of the equipment, in order to make the services of the Organization competitive. He stressed that “a balanced budget shows the way to the beginning of the autonomy of the Organization with the achievement of a functional surplus, but also with the development and improvement of infrastructure.”
He also said that the Organization will emphasize the attraction of income from outpatient care, which, as he said, was seriously affected during the pandemic. “We are making a restart, to bring outpatient care to the forefront and the introduction of afternoon hours will help us in this goal,” he added.
He added that in order to meet the needs previously covered by government agencies, the Agency is requesting the opening of 160 new staff positions, of which 95 are administrative staff, 47 nurses and 19 doctors. In addition, he said, there are 75 hours of paid staff, while 306 people have retired, so there will be a small reduction in the total, which will contribute to savings efforts, as estimated by the Board.
Satisfaction with the operating surplus of € 4 million was expressed by the Chairwoman of the Committee and Member of Parliament for DISY, Savvia Orfanidou, as this is expected to increase to € 16.5 million in 2023 and to € 26.5 million in 2024. “This is indicative of the steady steps that have been taken by the Organization to achieve financial autonomy, which is, after all, the philosophy of GESS that we have voted for, after the submission of the state sponsorship will be completed in June 2024,” he explained.
He acknowledged that there was a positive sign in the management of the pandemic by the public hospitals, which “owes so much to the prudent management of the organization itself in recent years but of course to the work and sacrifices of all medical and nursing staff,” he added. Finally, he stressed the need for immediate promotion of development projects but also for staffing of key areas that have not yet been fully staffed, such as the Emergency Departments (TAEP).
DISY MP, Charalambos Pazaros, said that “in the midst of a pandemic, our public hospitals have turned white and we need to invest in order to become competitive, in relation to the private ones”. He stressed that TAEP should become a priority, because it is the Achilles heel of hospitals and they bother a lot of people.
AKEL MP, Giorgos Loukaidis, said that “the public health system must take a different course”, as “the nice picture” presented by the Board of the Organization during the meeting, is not in line with “the reality we live in”. He reminded the letter of the Minister. Health, which criticized the non-implementation of OKYPY commitments for projects to upgrade its infrastructure and services. He stressed, however, that AKEL MPs will continue to support efforts to upgrade and modernize public health.
AKEL MP, Marina Nikolaou, during her speech at the meeting, thanked the staff of public hospitals for the effort they made, especially during the pandemic period. “We will continue to defend public health at all costs,” he said, noting that delays in the implementation of projects leave people in need of public hospital services exposed, citing the situation at Athalassa Hospital as an example.
AKEL MP Christos Christofias, during his own statement at the meeting, expressed concerns about the risk of medical staff leaks in the private sector, due to the weakening of public hospitals.
The MP of DIKO, Panikos Leonidou, suggested that every month there be an issue on the agenda of the Health Committee for monitoring the action of OKYPY and OAY, in order to be checked at regular intervals. “It is both the duty and the obligation of all to find a way to protect the organizations,” he stressed. He also expressed concern that the effort of public hospitals to cope with the pandemic, cost the lives of patients with other diseases.
The President and Member of Parliament of EDEK, Marinos Sizopoulos, said that “since 2001, when the bill for the operation of the General Health System was passed for the first time, no Government has done anything to substantially upgrade the public health sector”, characteristically mentioning the existence of a single MRI in a public hospital. He added that evaluation is needed in the health system in general and not only in OKYPY.
DIPA MP, Michalis Giakoumi, stressed that public hospitals were on the front line in the effort to stop the pandemic, while they remain on the front line for serious accidents. He expressed the view that “excellent work” is being done in public hospitals and that there will be problems, so the effort to solve them will continue.