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With goodwill on all sides Gesy will be realised says minister (updated)

Civil servants at the hospitals are putting their lives at risk

With goodwill on all sides, convergences can be reached that will lead the National Health Scheme (Gesy) forward, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Sunday.

“It is a common aim of all those involved in the health sector to implement a National Health Scheme,” the minister said. “Our aim as the health ministry is to implement Gesy as envisaged in the law and its timetable, which is November 2019 for the first phase.

He was speaking after a resolution setting out the conditions under which doctors will take part in the scheme was approved by more than 1,000 members of the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) on Saturday night during an extraordinary general meeting.

The resolution calls for an increase in the Gesy budget so that it reaches the EU average to ensure the quality of health services provided, patient safety and the sustainability of the scheme.

Clear timetables, as well as measures to support both public and private doctors, as well as nurses in both the public and the private sector, are required, the doctors said.

“Doctors are an important pillar in the implementation of Gesy and we take their worries seriously. We have offered as the ministry to mediate between the private doctors and the Health Insurance Orgnisation (HIO) as we have done many times in the past,” Ioannou said.

Regarding doctors’ fees for taking part in Gesy, they should be in accordance with the proposals CyMA has already submitted, the doctors said. A guaranteed unit price is also required for specialist doctors involved in outpatient care in addition to inpatient fees per medical procedure.

The doctors are also asking for clear explanation and written, legal guarantees which cover the terms under which both private and state doctors take part in Gesy, in addition to the freedom of private doctors in Gesy to practise as they see fit.

Phase one of Gesy, which is primary health care, will kick in on June 1, 2019. Inpatient care will be introduced in phase two which is expected to be introduced in June 2020. Contributions of beneficiaries will come into force in March.

Ioannou said he would call the president of the doctors for a meeting on Monday before calling a meeting between all sides to see how to proceed.

He said there is still time for negotiations to be held with the doctors. “We are, after all, talking about a scheme which has been discussed, studied and designed for at least 20 years, but now a timetable has been voted into law which we are obliged to follow. The timeframes can be met if there is goodwill”.

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