Cyprus Mail

Health minister and paediatricians in spat over Gesy

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou censured the island’s paediatric society on Tuesday after it issued an alarmist statement about the planned national health scheme, or Gesy, urging their members not to join.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the minister said the biggest reform in the health sector could not be reversed.

Ioannou said it was regretful to see certain paediatricians trying to undermine the reforms using lies, misinformation and inaccuracies in a bid to create a “climate of panic” among the public.

The minister questioned why the society would criticise Gesy with such rage, taking advantage of the concerns of patients, let alone the vulnerable group of the children, “carefully omitting to mention what was really said and the clarifications given.”

Ioannou went on to suggest that maybe certain other interests were at stake.

The minister said he expected them, as people whom people entrusted with the health of their children, to be the first to note that the current health system was not functional and fair to patients and to spearhead the effort to ensure Gesy’s success.

“Instead, I am observing a, fortunately, isolated group of paediatricians hiding behind their capacity as members of the paediatric society to promote their personal agendas,” the minister said.

Ioannou said he had expected an organised group like the society, which was a frontrunner in the past, to cast any personal ambitions and interests aside and embrace the effort, putting the interest of the patients first.

In its statement, the society said under Gesy, children would only be able to see one doctor for any problem.

“You will no longer have the right to directly visit a different specialty such as a cardiologist, dermatologist, surgeon, ophthalmologist, orthopedic, ENT, etc. Without his referral, no other specialty would see you.”

They also claimed that each doctor would only be allowed to register 2,500 patients in their list. If the preferred doctor has filled his list, a patient would have to seek someone else.

Patients who were unhappy with their doctor could not change them before six months passed from the day they registered with them, the society said.

“Thus, after six months, you will have to find another paediatrician who would have to accept of course to register you.”

They also claimed they would not be able to spend so much time on patients, surgeries would be overcrowded, encouraging contagion, it will be more expensive, group insurance policies will be scrapped, and contributions will rise every year.

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