Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Tuesday that some members of the medical association’s leadership do not want the implementation of the national health system (Gesy) for personal reasons as a prominent member of the association (CyMA) resigned, accusing some of his colleagues of being manipulated by big interests.
Paediatrician Alkis Papadouris resigned on Tuesday from CyMA’s medical board (SIS), claiming its leadership was fully controlled by the association of private doctors (Enik).
In his resignation letter, Papadouris said private doctors who opted out of Gesy wanted to hire other doctors who joined the system.
These doctors, he said, “have no ethical legitimacy to represent doctors who intend on joining (Gesy) or the medical world.”
Until recently, he said, private practice within the Gesy framework was a red line for SIS.
Papadouris said the creation of a private health platform, in which members of CyMA’s medical board participate, in addition to blocking doctors who will join Gesy, reveals “the real purpose of its creation.”
“They said that all those doctors who join Gesy will not be allowed to participate in the platform. For me, this is blackmail to colleagues to prevent them from registering with Gesy,” Papadouris told state broadcaster CyBC.
He added that a doctor registered with Gesy will be allowed to carry out private practice for patients who are not beneficiaries of the system and can also see patients privately for services not offered by Gesy.
He said in his letter that he decided to resign from the medical board following the latest developments, including the public spat with the health minister on the origin of a memorandum of understanding between CyMA and the government, which was eventually binned.
The statements and ethos of the vice chairman of the medical board, he said, reflect on all members of the body.
Last week, the vice-chairman of the association accused Ioannou of preparing the document himself in a bid to divide the medical community.
Papadouris said SIS no longer represented him “as it aims at supporting social injustice, inequality, is being manipulated by big interests and by policies that are unrelated with medical and Hippocratic ethics, and is leading the medical world to a break-up.”
Enik deputy chairman Haris Armeftis had said earlier in the month that the Private Medical Network Cyprus, a platform which the health ministry has described as an attempt to boycott Gesy, was aimed at coordinating the free will of doctors wishing to continue practising privately. The platform, he said, will be an alternative to Gesy, and could also be a solution in case Gesy collapses.
Ioannou said later on Tuesday that the resignation was proof of what he had previously said, that some CyMA members do not want to see the implementation of Gesy for their own reasons.
“This is something that the medical community must realise,” Ioannou said. He added that each doctor must personally assess what they have to gain from but also contribute to Gesy. “This is a social service which we all ought to embrace.”
CyMA spokesman Vasos Economou said that Papadouris’ decision will be respected.
A SIS meeting is to take place on Tuesday evening. Economou said that he will suggest to the members to consider resuming dialogue with the government on the participation of private doctors in Gesy. He also called for unity within the medical community.