Abusing Gesy is leading to delays and other problems an official said on Thursday calling on patients to only visit their doctors when necessary after thousands rushed to make appointments often for no obvious reason.
Senior official at the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), Maria Kythreotou, told the Cyprus News Agency that doctors, clinical labs and pharmacies have been inundated by patients during the past three weeks since Gesy has been introduced.
“Upon the implementation of Gesy everyone rushed to have their medical and lab tests which they were neglecting in the past and to arrange their drug prescriptions,” Kythreotou told CNA.
She said that for Gesy to run smoothly, proper education and culture is needed both by healthcare providers and by patients. “It is here to stay and to serve all of us we must treat it right.”
Kythreotou said many rushed to do within a month all the medical tests they failed to do in previous years, despite being told that they must visit their family doctors (GP) only when necessary.
But the massive number of visits has resulted in delays in making appointments with GPs due to their excess workload.
Kythreotou said it was expected for beneficiaries to react in such a way due to the lack of a general health scheme for so many years which also meant lack of a culture on how one acts as a beneficiary of such a system but that the situation needs to be gradually rectified, she said.
One of the problems is that patients ask their GPs to prescribe to them drugs or refer them to specialists or for lab tests based on the opinion of other doctors not participating in Gesy.
There are also complaints by doctors about requests by patients for excessive drug prescription.
“We carry out checks daily for all cases that are reported to us,” she said.
Concerning cases of doctors participating in Gesy who also do private practice, Kythreotou said doctors are allowed to charge beneficiaries who seek for medical advice but who are not on their lists. They are allowed to charge because they are offering services outside Gesy. She said house calls are not yet included in the system.
As regards state doctors who also practice privately, she said this was a matter concerning their employer, the state health services organisation, Okypy, and whether, as civil servants they are allowed to do so.
Kythreotou said there have not been any resignations by private GPs from Gesy yet. Some GPs opted to only work as specialists, she said, citing too many patients.