Cyprus Mail
Health

Private-hospital group says joining Gesy akin to ‘jumping into the abyss’

The association of private hospitals (Pasin) announced on Saturday that joining the proposed National Health Scheme (Gesy) would be like “jumping into the abyss”, after the group’s spokesman, who had said they were ready to enter into dialogue with the government for their participation in the scheme, resigned on Friday.

Pasin, in a written announcement, said that its members would not join “an incomplete health system without sufficient studies and documentation, and which will degrade instead of upgrading the quality of the services provided.” Gesy, the group said, was “imminently threatening” the viability of private hospitals.

It said that it has yet to receive the data it has repeatedly requested from the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) which would answer to “reasonable questions from its members, to ensure the continued provision of quality health services to patients.” HIO is tasked with managing Gesy.

“Basically, Pasin members are being asked to take a leap into the abyss by their participation in this Gesy,” the group said.

The group had announced last week it would interrupt its dialogue with HIO, but its spokesman, Dr Achilelas Perdios, told media on Friday that they were now ready to enter into consultations with the authority.

But Perdios’ statements did not find other Pasin members in agreement, leading to his resignation.

Perdios told state broadcaster CyBC on Saturday that he cannot make negative statements against Gesy before he has in front of him all the details that the group has requested from the HIO.

Some private hospitals do not agree with the philosophy of the scheme, he said, and they have to come out and say it.

Perdios said that, without dialogue, it would not be possible to move things forward.

The new, temporary spokesman of Pasin, Marinos Soteriou, told CyBC that the scheme favours state hospitals at the expense of quality healthcare services but also healthy competition.

Soteriou said that the scheme was incomplete and problematic while it grants “superpowers” to HIO.

Despite the group’s stance, the Limassol-based German Oncology Centre said this week it would like to join Gesy, following the announcement last week of the Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus in the same district that it was backing the scheme.

Pasin’s latest announcement follows that of the medical association that urged its members on Friday not to join Gesy, citing the refusal of the government to allow them the flexibility of being able to enter into private practice within Gesy, and increasing the budget of the scheme.

Health Minister, Constantinos Ioannou, said that in the event not enough doctors express interest in joining Gesy, the HIO was working on a contingency plan, which is to be presented to him next week.

Following speculations that this would include bringing in doctors from Greece, CyMA’s deputy head, Marios Karaiskakis, warned that the association has the authority not to grant licences for medical practice if it deems that this would threaten the local physicians.

“In other words, are they telling us they would bring in strike-breakers?” Karaiskakis told Alpha TV on Friday.