Cyprus Mail

Proposed head of hospital oversight has ministry support

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou

The proposed new board chairman of the state health services organisation (Okypy) has the necessary experience and is viewed positively by the medical community, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Saturday.

Cabinet is expected to approve next week the health ministry’s suggestion to appoint the former head of the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre Alecos Stamatis as the new board chairman of Okypy.

Stamatis is to replace Sir David Nicholson who stepped down following allegations of conflict of interest. The cabinet accepted Nicholson’s resignation this week.

Since the beginning of the year, the financial and administrative supervision of state hospitals has been transferred from the health ministry to Okypy.

Ioannou told an event organised by the Greens on the National Health Scheme (Gesy) that Stamatis has the required experience for the job.

“He is one of the first to have been involved in designing Gesy since the 1990s, he is an expert on the subject,” Ioannou said.

But in any case, he said, it not Gesy but Okypy he is going to run and that is where his expertise is needed. “I think he is also acceptable to the whole medical community.”

Political parties have already been informed of the ministry’s choice, he said.

Stamatis was the head of the oncology centre for many years and since last January has been the patients’ representative at Okypy’s scientific council.

Okypy is tasked with the management, control, supervision and development of public hospitals and primary health care centres. The organisation believes that general hospitals around the island will be made autonomous by summer. State hospital autonomy is an important aspect of the implementation of Gesy.

The minister said on Saturday that the government’s goal is to reinforce the state autonomous hospitals by means of equipment and staff.

Nicholson, who assumed his duties in December 2017, resigned over what he said was an orchestrated attack against him by institutions he thought should be supporting such a massive reform and not placing obstacles.

He had been under fire by opposition parties over an alleged conflict of interest concerning himself and his wife.

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides had also asked the cabinet earlier in the year to examine a possible conflict of interest citing a legal opinion by the attorney-general.

An audit service report showed that Nicholson had not stated all his business affiliations when applying for the position and as required by law.

Ioannou said last Thursday that a legal opinion by the attorney-general said Nicholson should not be employed by organisations, which are related to his activities.

The law states that Okypy members have a conflict of interest if they are linked to “any businesses dealing with health issues”. Okypy members are also required to state the interests of up to fourth-degree relatives.


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