Half of the individuals currently holding administrative positions in the public health services failed to pass the new re-employment exams introduced in November 2023.

The new appraisal system, implemented to enhance the quality of leadership in public health, has exposed significant shortcomings among existing officials.

The examinations, conducted by the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) at the end of March, are now a prerequisite for recruitment to director and deputy director roles in the Ministry of Health and public hospitals.

Unlike traditional knowledge-based exams, these assessment tests align with international evaluation standards for leadership positions.

Only 55% pass

Out of 1,277 applicants applying for 173 positions in the public health sector—including 21 director and deputy director roles in Health Regions—the results revealed a surprising trend: only 55 percent of the incumbents managed to pass. The recruitment process for new Health Region directors is expected to conclude by the end of July, with the selection and appointment of hospital directors to follow immediately afterwards.

Government sources commented on the pass rate, highlighting the meritocratic nature of the new system. “It is not shown either that all the incumbents were good or that all had no ability,” they stated, emphasising that the system ensures only qualified individuals occupy these key positions of responsibility.

Selection standards are not being met

The new system underscores a critical issue: many long-serving officials do not meet international selection standards and lack essential management skills. The November 2023 reform, described by then Interior Minister Niki Kerameus as a “Senior Staff Selection Committee,” has shifted the appointment process away from ministerial discretion, which previously led to questionable appointments.

In the past, individuals with no relevant qualifications, such as a hairdresser and a tire repair business owner, were found occupying hospital administrator positions. The recent exam results suggest a move towards a more competent and professionally qualified leadership in public health administration.

The new appraisal system marks a significant step towards ensuring that public health services are managed by capable and well-qualified professionals, setting a higher standard for public sector leadership in the years to come.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.