The medical association (CyMA) on Wednesday insisted that it was Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou who prepared a document attributed to them as a proposal aimed at striking an agreement with the government over their participation in the National Health Scheme (Gesy).
Ioannou, however, reiterated that this was not the case, and that he would no longer comment on “the contradictions and various versions of statements” by representatives of CyMA.
The dispute concerns a document published in the media earlier in the week which reportedly had been prepared by CyMA in the form of a memorandum of understanding and included a number of proposals by the association which could have cleared the way for private doctors to join Gesy.
A CyMA representative on Monday had said that the document was an informal one as it was not approved by the board of the association but did not deny it having been submitted to the minister. The story changed on Tuesday, however, when the vice-chairman of the association accused Ioannou of preparing the document himself in a bid to divide the medical community.
In a written statement on Wednesday the minister said that he received the document in question from a person acting on behalf of the CyMA leadership and that he forwarded it to the board of the Health Insurance organisation (HIO), which, following a meeting some two weeks ago, prepared a counterproposal. That counterproposal was sent to him by the HIO, he said, and he promptly forwarded it to the CyMA through the mediator.
Later on Wednesday, Haris Armeftis, on behalf of CyMA, repeated that the proposal was prepared by the minister himself and that the association was presented with it through an external consultant and rejected it after assessing it.
“I was there,” Armeftis said, adding that the minister had formed the document in question in cooperation with HIO, and had it delivered by hand to CyMA in an official envelope by an associate doctor.
“So far so good. It was a proposal, we read it, we rejected it,” Armeftis told state broadcaster CyBC radio. “We told our associate that if the minister wished to make an official proposal to do so through the secretariat of CyMA and it would be discussed by the assembly.”
What did not sit well with CyMA, he said, is that a few days after they had rejected it, the document was leaked to the media aiming to mislead public opinion and mainly the medical community.
“That is the grievance of CyMA,” he said, adding that the mediator who had delivered the document had told them that it was a message from the minister.
“What really took place, I will leave that to the judgment of each and every one,” said Ioannou, adding that he would no longer make any further comments out of respect to the doctors who believe in the Gesy and support it.
Armeftis also defended the attempt to set up the Private Medical Network Cyprus, a platform offering information to patients about private doctors and hospitals, which the health ministry has described as an attempt to boycott Gesy.
“It is an organised effort aimed at coordinating the free will of doctors wishing to continue practising privately,” Armeftis said.
The platform, he said, will be an alternative to Gesy, and could also be a solution in case Gesy collapses.
“If the system collapses, and there is no other alternative then there will be a serious problem,” he said.
Registration of private doctors to the platform has started this week. After registration is completed, the platform will be made accessible to members of the public.