Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced on Saturday that a new list is being compiled to include more drugs on the national health scheme Gesy mainly for patients with chronic illnesses.

During an online Q&A with members of the public on Gesy the minister said that drug shortages especially during the first weeks of Gesy was largely due to over-prescriptions.

He also said that since some drugs were available on a large scale for the first time importers came across difficulties in calculating the necessary quantities.

But having gathered data over the last four months, he said, the assessments of stakeholders could be more precise, reducing shortages to the minimum.

As regards drugs that are not curently included in the Gesy list but are included by some physicians in patients’ treatment regimes, the minister said this mostly concerns chronic patients such as people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, thalassemia and cancer. The Health Insurance Organisation will announce the details within the coming days, he said.

On which vaccines are administered through Gesy, he said that the flu vaccine will be administered to vulnerable groups of the population. For children, all the vaccines demed necessary by the national vaccination committee will be administered by paediatricians registered with Gesy.

As regards complaints on payments for drugs, the minister said there is ceiling on the annual amount patients are called to pay for drugs and lab tests which is €150 for the general population and €75 for low-income pensioners and beneficiaries of the Guaranteed Minimum Income.

“If for example, a low-income pensioner reaches the €75 ceiling, then they no longer have to pay anything extra for drugs or lab tests,” the minister said.

Ioannou also received complaints about delays in appointments with healthcare providers, especially GPs. He admitted that delays are being observed in some cases when GPs have 2,500 patients which is the maximum, but that this problem is expected to be alleviated as more doctors join Gesy as GPs and patients are re-distributed.

He recalled that as of the beginning of this month, Gesy beneficiaries have the right to change their GP within three months of registering with one if they are not satisfied.

He also expressed satisfaction for the constantly increasing registrations of specialists in all districts that have so far reached around 1,000.

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