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Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Kyproulla’s new sacred cash-cow

The foreign minister has been working tirelessly to attain sacred-cow status as well

THE NATIONAL health scheme Gesy is the new sacred cow of Kyproulla, having overtaken auditor-general Odysseas as the institution that must be religiously respected at all times. The foreign minister has been working tirelessly to attain this status as well, but I am happy to report that he has not been successful yet, despite being given sacred cow certification by Phil.

Any criticism of Gesy makes you spawn of the devil, an enemy of the people, an accomplice of insurance companies and defender of the greed of private doctors. If you are lucky you might also be the target of an unflattering tweet by the former health minister Giorgos Pamborides, the guardian of the dysfunctional scheme he helped to create.

The only thing that Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), which designed and administers Gesy, does exceptionally well is the publicity game its officials constantly appearing in the media to inform us how everything is going fantastically well and that they are on top of the situation. They waged a very effective campaign against private doctors, attributing their criticism of the many weaknesses of the scheme to greed.

When the weaknesses started appearing there was always an answer. The absence of protocols would be tackled by drafting some overtime. The difficulties doctors were having logging into the software system would be resolved through the upgrade of the system. Drug shortages at chemists, reported in the last week, were also to be resolved with the upgrading of the software system the HIO said.

An upgrade of the software system will even come up with the cash when Gesy goes over its budget, as seems inevitable.


SOURCES at the finance ministry are already expressing major concerns, privately, about the funds Gesy is swallowing up. They do not want to go public and ruin the feelgood factor created by the HIO and the media. There is enough trouble at the public hospitals from which doctors are fleeing to register as Gesy personal doctors to earn huge amounts of money.

Speaking of personal doctors, only complete morons or clueless civil servants that do not know the first thing about how economics work would have decided to pay these doctors up to 250 grand a year for offering primary care. A personal doctor receives €100 per patient a year and can register a maximum of 2,500. There are many that have already reached the quota and will feel like they have won the Lotto.

Who else in Kyproulla, apart from a few lawyers and accountants earn 250 grand a year, which is centrally-planned and has nothing to do with the laws of supply and demand? Even if the HIO paid half the rate, offering 125 grand a year, personal doctors would still be among the 5% best-paid workers in Kyproulla; now they are probably among the 1% best-paid.

Many of the medics that signed up as personal doctors were retirees, but when others realised what kind of money they could earn they started quitting their jobs at hospitals to join Gesy. Even if they register one-third of the quota, they would still earn 80 grand a year, which is significantly more than they earn at hospitals.


NOW, as result of the HIO’s genius planning, there is a shortage of doctors at the hospitals, especially at A&E departments; even National Guard doctors are reportedly handing in their resignations to get a piece of the Gesy action.

This is causing major headaches to Okypy, the state medical services running public hospitals, as they are obliged to offer doctors more money to persuade them to stay. More funding will be needed from the taxpayer who will be funding the hospitals until they become self-sufficient, theoretically in five years’ time. The draining of funds is inbuilt in Gesy the way it has been set up. What enterprise that pays its front-line employees, those offering primary healthcare, 250 grand a year can survive financially? What should specialist doctors demand to be paid? The small number of specialist doctors – many retirees – that have signed up with Gesy is an indication the money being offered is inadequate.

And another thing, personal doctors will be paid their 250 grand irrespective of how many patients they see per day, as long as they have 2,500 registered. This is not exactly an incentive for them to see as many patients as possible. On the contrary, they could see the bare minimum and still earn a king’s ransom, which may explain why so many patients are complaining they cannot get an appointment with their personal doctor. How could they? He or she is a top-paid professional that cannot deal with every Kostis-Yiannis on the patient list that has a sore throat.


A DYSFUNCTIONAL system heading for big financial problems is the best you could expect when you consider that it was designed by public employees under the guidance of politicians with an Akelite mentality, which worships state control and shuns cooperation with the private sector.

Akel had no trouble imposing its dogma of a state healthcare monopoly on the rest of the opposition parties, while the government, which had its reservations was obliged to go along for fear of losing votes. The Soviet-type state monopoly legislation was approved several months before the last presidential elections, unanimously, by the parties.

Even Disy backed the bills. Its leader Averof Neophytou was the only party leader that publicly questioned the plan and was accused by the moral majority of supporting the interests of insurance firms and private doctors, so he reluctantly followed the dictum ‘if you can’t beat them join them.’

Akel had once again imposed its commie central planning ideology as the righteous path, creating a new sacred cow embraced by everyone, including a government that knew the possibility of it ending in financial disaster was high.

It’s peculiar the almighty Odysseas has not tweeted anything about money being squandered by Gesy on personal doctors and the abuse by patients of medical tests. Is it because there is solidarity among the sacred cows of our society?


MY APOLOGIES for boring you with Gesy, but the alternative was to bore you with the latest comic developments of the Cyprob, which I will do anyway as there is space left to fill. I will not mention Mustafa Akinci’s proposal for the joint management of hydrocarbons because we do not want it to become part of the non-existent Cyprob talks process, and it was unanimously rejected by party leaders.

Akinci’s proposal for an informal five-party conference conveyed in a letter to the UNSG, revived the Cyprob soap opera which was living off scraps such as when Jane Holl Lute would visit again for another failed round of proximity talks. At the conference, Akinci hoped to find out what type of settlement Prez Nik actually wanted, given his constantly changing proposal.

But even if there was such a pointless conference, and Nik told him, what guarantee was there he would not change his mind a few weeks later? It would be an informal conference.


NIK WAS not happy with the attention Akinci’s letter received as he had the idea of an informal conference first. As we were informed, he sent a letter to the UNSG, four weeks before Akinci, requesting an informal five-party conference, but his objective was not to establish what type of settlement he wanted, because he did not know.

The government spokesman said Nik hoped an “informal conference of a procedural nature” with the same line-up as in Switzerland two years ago, “if properly prepared would lead to the resumption of the talks.” He wanted to gather the UNSG, the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Britain as well as the EU’s Federica Mogherini for a conference of a “procedural nature” to discuss the resumption of talks that would lead to deadlock.

This proposal is even more pathetic than Akinci’s. If the two leaders cannot agree to resume talks while in Kyproulla, why would they agree to do so in Switzerland? Is it the mountain air? I suspect the UNSG has not bothered answering either letter, but if he had he would have diplomatically told them both to piss off because he does not waste his time on informal conferences of a procedural nature.


IN ITS LAST session before the summer recess, the House of Representatives passed a law that would allow Andreas Mavroyiannis to take up his post as Kyproulla’s permanent representative at the UN, while also keeping his position as the Greek Cypriot negotiator, which is a political appointment.

Although he had been appointed by the council of ministers several months ago, he did not take up his post in the Big Apple because this would have been breaking the law. A civil servant that becomes a political appointee should resign from the civil service. He had taken a sabbatical from the civil service while he was a negotiator, but his appointment as perm rep by the cabinet was unlawful while he remains the negotiator.

In short, the government broke the law in appointing him to the UN and subsequently changed the law to make the appointment lawful. In the normal state that Prez Nik craves, the law would be changed first not after it had been violated so as to legalise what was an unlawful appointment.


LAST NIGHT’S gathering at the presidential palace to mark the anniversary of the Turkish invasion was heavily advertised by the state broadcaster. The main speaker was foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides, standing in for Nik, who was still recuperating, said the advertisement. It was an opportunity for Nikos to act presidential and rehearse his Makarios role.

Admission was free said the advertisement, which was pretty unnecessary. Not even the biggest idiot in Kyproulla would think they would have to pay to go on a Saturday night to listen to a speech they have heard a thousand times before, even if it was being delivered by the silken-tongued future president.



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