The timetable for the introduction of the national health scheme (Gesy) must be respected by all, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Sunday.
He was speaking one day ahead of a meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA), who would air there problems with Gesy, “And we will see how we proceed”.
He underlined that Gesy was not just an issue for the government but the whole population. He said the government has made every effort to ensure Gesy is workable.
Asked about Gesy while attending an Epiphany celebration at a park in Nicosia, he said this is not the time for negotiations. “Gesy is the result of a unanimous decision of all political forces and it will be implemented according to legislation that has already been passed and to a specific timetable”.
He said both the president and the health minister have expressed determination to push ahead with Gesy as “we have to get on. We have already delayed the introduction of the scheme for about a decade and a half”.
Asked if the government has any second thoughts on the practice of private medical services, Prodromou said there cannot be two systems at the same time. “We need to clarify what we mean by private practice within Gesy. This can be discussed tomorrow”.
But he warned that the president did not at this time want to make any other plans.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Sunday that interest in working for Gesy has been shown by doctors currently working overseas, particularly Greece.
However, in an interview with Alithia, he said the aim of the ministry was not to bring in foreign doctors to fill the gaps.
He also said the government is determined to go ahead with Gesy as planned and it will not be distracted by detractors.
The first phase of the scheme kicked into action on Wednesday when the financial and administrative supervision of state hospitals was transferred to the Organisation of State Health Services (Okyy).
Okyy is tasked with the management, control, supervision and development of public hospitals and primary health care centres. Administrative decisions previously taken by the ministry of health will now be taken by Okyy.
On Friday the association of private hospitals, the oral and maxillofacial society, vascular and endovascular surgery association and the association of private doctors joined other groups in saying they would not join Gesy.
By Thursday, eight other private specialist groups had announced they would not back Gesy: rheumatologists, intensivists, urologists, nuclear medicine physicians, ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors, endocrinologists, paediatricians and gastroenterologists. Cardiologists said its members would each decide individually.