12° Nicosia,
25 May, 2024

Audit uncovers mismanagement in Cyprus' public health system

Shocking findings expose financial chaos and operational shortcomings, urging immediate action


In a damning revelation, Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides unveiled alarming mismanagement within Cyprus' public health sector, particularly in its flagship National Health System (GESY). According to a report by Pavlos Neophytou in Oikonomiki, the findings, disclosed during a recent interview, shed light on systemic issues ranging from organizational culture to financial discrepancies, with specific examples painting a troubling picture of dysfunctionality.

Amidst the fallout from a scathing report on Nicosia General Hospital for 2022, which exposed significant financial distortions and operational shortcomings, attention has turned to the central administration of GESY. A forthcoming report, expected to be published next month, is poised to unveil extensive mismanagement and wasteful practices within the GESY hierarchy, from headquarters to individual hospitals.

Financial implications loom large, with deficits in the GESY budget projected to swell to €101 million for 2024. Internal audit mechanisms within GESY have been notably lacking, marked by understaffing and a failure to implement timely corrective actions. Instances of financial irregularities, including the heaping of allowances for doctors without clear productivity metrics, have raised serious concerns about fiscal accountability.

In the report on Nicosia General Hospital, egregious examples of operational deficiencies were highlighted, including delays in patient examinations and the failure to record the time of specialist doctor calls. Additionally, claims for high-cost examinations were left unsubmitted to the Organization of Insurance for the Health System (OAI), resulting in both revenue loss and lapses in patient medical records—a situation deemed unacceptable and potentially endangering patient health.

Director General of the Ministry of Health, Christina Giannakis, has issued stern warnings regarding the urgent need for adherence to corrective measures within GESY. Failure to address deficits and implement corrective actions may result in accountability measures being pursued. The Audit Office has echoed these sentiments, stressing the imperative of a change in organizational mindset and rigorous monitoring to rectify financial imbalances.

While the GESY stands out as a glaring example of mismanagement, similar challenges persist in other government sectors, such as RIK, further highlighting systemic deficiencies within public institutions. Efforts are underway to address these issues, with reports being forwarded to the Independent Authority against Corruption for further investigation into potential abuses of power.

The revelations have sparked public outcry and calls for urgent reforms to restore accountability and transparency within Cyprus' public health sector. With mounting pressure on authorities to address these systemic failures, the spotlight remains firmly on the need for decisive action to safeguard public funds and ensure the efficient delivery of healthcare services.

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