EAR, nose and throat (ENT) doctors of the private sector said on Thursday they do not intend to join the national health scheme, joining the ranks of several other private practices who have decided to opt out.
In a statement, the Cyprus Society of Otorhinolaryngology called on its members not to register with the national health scheme (Gesy) noting that, as it stands, the scheme “is not viable and will result in the downgrading of healthcare services provided to patients.”
The society said that a number of issues regarding the operation of Gesy remain vague, and that the demands they recently laid out for participation were not being met.
Private-practice doctors will be called to enter into contracts with the organisation implementing Gesy.
But primarily due to concerns over remuneration, to date a number of professional groups have either voiced reservations about participating or outright said they will not.
Private doctors fear the financial package they are being offered to participate in Gesy is not enough of an incentive.
Last week endocrinologists announced they would not be joining the scheme, citing a deficient budget that would lead to low-quality health services.
Cardiologists, despite not being fully on board, said each would decide for themselves.
Earlier, paediatricians and gastroenterologists likewise said they would not be joining.
The ‘desertions’ have angered government officials, who hit back accusing interest groups of seeking to sabotage efforts at introducing a universal healthcare system and of blackmailing the government.
However the health minister has put on a brave face, saying he is optimistic that the required number of private doctors would agree to join Gesy.
An official said on Thursday that doctors’ registrations would be held in two phases. Those physicians registering with Gesy during the first phase would be offered more incentives than those holding out.
Under the government roadmap, contributions for Gesy will begin as of March 2019.
The first phase of the scheme is to be rolled out on June 1 of the same year. This concerns outpatient care provided by personal physicians, specialists, pharmacies and labs.
Gesy will come into full swing as of June 1, 2020 with inpatient care.