By George Psyllides
Health Minister Phillipos Patsalis said would cooperate closely with the auditor-general to resolve problems concerning the Nicosia hospital’s transplant clinic, after a deal between the ministry and a doctor was slammed as a waste of taxpayers money.
The issue became public just days after the ministry announced a six-month agreement with nephrologist Vasilis Hadjianastasiou as a temporary solution to serve the patients of the Nicosia hospital’s transplant clinic.
In a letter to the health minister, Odysseas Michaelides said the deal was a waste of taxpayers money since the agreed amount per transplant was almost double the set maximum price – €3,650 compared with €2,000.
This, according to Michaelides, meant that Hadjianastasiou would collect €91,250 in six months – 25 transplants.
Considering the €50,000 limit, the doctor would either provide services for a shorter period of time, or scheduled operations would have to be cancelled, Michaelides said.
The clinic had been left without transplant experts in December after Hadjianastasiou, who was the director, and another doctor walked out due to financial and other differences with the ministry.
The ministry then signed an agreement with a team of Greek doctors that were to travel to the island whenever needed to perform surgeries, a solution which dismayed transplant patients since they felt that it endangered their lives as the doctors would not be able to attend them in case of complications.
The three doctors cost taxpayers a total of €3,300 per transplant, including follow up treatment and observation.
Under the current agreement, Hadjianastasiou is not required to be at the transplant clinic continuously and is not prohibited from having his own patients.
What was more offending, according to the auditor-general, was that Hadjianastasiou had initially asked for €9,000 per transplant.
Michaelides suggested that the doctor’s stance was a violation of medical ethics regulations. The fact that he later settled for €3,650 could justify censuring him for profiteering.
Michaelides also forwarded his letter to the medical association.
Patsalis said starting this week he will engage with the auditor-general in a bid to find a solution once and for all.
“We gave a solution through which transplants will be carried out unhindered in the next six months,” Patsalis said, expressing hope that a permanent solution will be found to avoid a repeat of the period when the clinic could not function in the best possible way.