Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Tuesday called on the leadership of the medical association (CyMA) to admit they will never consent to the implementation of the National Health Scheme (Gesy) after the latter dismissed as fake news reports that one of their members had sent the minister a written compromise deal.
Earlier in the day CyMA vice chair Marios Karaiskakis accused the minister of forgery and of writing the document himself in a bid to create discord among the medical community.
Ioannou dismissed the claims, calling on the medical community to finally realise who their leadership is.
“How low can they go?” Ioannou said on state broadcaster CyBC radio on Tuesday morning.
He said the proposal was submitted to him by an external associate of CyMA some two weeks ago and that he forwarded it to the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) that called a board meeting to discuss it and submit their counter proposals.
“I reserve my legal rights. This is an accusation I will not tolerate,” he said. He was responding to accusations by Karaiskakis that he had written the document himself and that no member of CyMA submitted anything in writing to the minister.
The accusations against the minister came after the health ministry confirmed media reports on Monday that a member of CyMA had proposed a compromise deal in a bid to get private doctors to join Gesy. The initiative was also confirmed by CyMA spokesman Vasos Economou, who had said on Monday that the move was not however authorised by the association’s board.
But Karaiskakis said a day later that the document was fake, created by the health ministry and the HIO.
He accused the health ministry of disseminating fake news as CyMA did not submit a memorandum.
“The document is the last nail in the coffin of Gesy,” Karaiskakis told CyBC radio, dismissing Ioannou’s claims that the document was given to him by an external associate of CyMA.
“In no case anything like that happened. No such a memorandum was submitted by our side,” he said.
“If we see this as forgery, then, yes, I accused him (the minister) of forgery.”
He added that CyMA does not consent to any memorandums.
Ioannou, later in the day, called on the part of the CyMA’s leadership that opposes Gesy to be honest and say so, “that they do not want and will never consent to the implementation of Gesy.”
He said that most of their demands – which were aimed at stalling and delaying the procedure – have been satisfied.
Ioannou said there is an attempt by the union of Cyprus doctors has created a new website calling on private physicians not to join Gesy but rather join another scheme where only patients with private health insurance could participate.
The minister said that, to prove that he did not manufacture any documents, he would submit all the information concerning the case to the Attorney-general, who acts as his legal councillor.
Representative of the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV) on the HIO board Lakis Tofarides confirmed on Tuesday that the memorandum was presented to them some two weeks ago. CyMA is a member of OEV. “We discussed and made some minor changes to it,” he said.
CyMA said in an announcement that it would return to dialogue only if there was sincere will by their interlocutors to discuss all their demands.
The unofficial attempt to record its positions on issues discussed during consultations in no way constitutes an official document or any agreement with the ministry or HIO, it said.