The Cyprus Medical Association (CMA) on Friday denied delays in investigating complaints that some doctors were encouraging their patients not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, insisting that it was being thorough in compliance with the law and regulations.

The association’s written statement followed an angry outburst by pneumologist Harris Armeftis on Cybc earlier on Friday castigating the CMA for failing to act and challenging vax-sceptic doctors to practice medicine in the ICU rather than on Facebook.

The CMA said that complaints involving ‘a small number of doctors’ encouraging patients not to get vaccinated are being thoroughly evaluated by the competent bodies of the CMA.

“All the information so far and the reports from members of the public are being studied by the competent bodies and in full compliance with the provisions of the relevant legislation and regulations governing the operation of CMA,” it said.

The CMA said it has to follow a specific and legally set out procedure to decide whether to appoint an investigating officer for these cases.

Depending on the findings of the investigating officer, the board must decide whether a doctor or doctors should be referred to the disciplinary body.

“The seriousness that the medical body must show requires strict adherence with the law and the regulations and no divergence is permitted,” it said. Complying with regulations does not constitute foot dragging but responsible behaviour, it added.

“The steps followed by CMA in such procedures are defined by law and not by public criticism from doctors or others, whether well-intentioned or not,” the association concluded.

Speaking on Cybc earlier, Armeftis said the CMA has not risen to the occasion as regards its members advising patients not to get vaccinated. He queried how medicine could constitute a personal opinion and not scientific knowledge. He also questioned whether a case of medical negligence could be brought against doctors who had urged people who later died in the ICU not to get vaccinated.

He challenged the CMA to state what measures it has taken against the ‘moral instigators’ in these deaths. And he invited the doctors in question to practice medicine in the ICU where he said a patient must die to free up a bed, and not just on Facebook.