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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Gesy is a conquest of the doctors

c shop the cyprus medical association held a news conference to decry the gesy abuses and to say we told you so
The Cyprus medical association held a news conference to decry the Gesy abuses and to say: 'We told you so'

UNIVERSAL outrage greeted the publication of the auditor-general’s report about the Gesy specialist doctors who were making big fortunes by submitting countless fictitious payment claims to the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), which has proved itself resoundingly inept at supervising the payment it makes.

There has been some information about how the doctors’ get rich quick schemes that included claiming payment for an operation that never took place, for expensive injections that were never administered and – my favourite – claiming for Botox treatment (not covered by Gesy) that doctors put down as removal of cancerous moles.

Husband and wife specialist doctors are said to have taken in excess of 800 grand from the HIO in one year, which is unbelievable considering the HIO pays €20 per visit. The husband also carried out operations, while the other was a dermatologist, making you wonder how many Cypriots suffer from skin ailments.

This is not all. Nobody could say how many unnecessary operations were carried out by private hospitals and clinics, given that the daily rate per bed is much higher than that for patients requiring medical care. Were doctors who carry out unnecessary operations also in the paltry 0.01 per cent that, according to the head of Cyprus Medical Association, were milking the Gesy cash cow, or were they not included?


WHY DO we think Cypriot doctors have different DNA from the rest of us and somehow consider it beneath them to steal from the state? Public sector parasites have been stealing from the state on a mass scale for decades but because the theft has been legalised and labelled ‘workers’ conquests’ nobody complains.

We should not expect doctors to be any different – like any Cypriot, when they see an opportunity to make an easy buck from the state, they seize it. They are as greedy and scheming as the rest of us when it comes to moolah, even though we have put them on a pedestal and treat them as our moral superiors because they can prescribe a drug that cures our sore throat.

We should just view Gesy as a conquest of the doctors, from the GPs who earn 250 grand a year for registering patients to the specialists who earn 400 grand a year.


HALLELUJAH, the leaders of the two communities have reached an agreement. I am not referring to the two-state solution, but to an action plan, requested by the UN Security Council, on ways to ensure women’s “full, equal and meaningful participation in the settlement process in Cyprus.”

Does this mean Dr Eleni Theocharous will be appointed Greek Cypriot negotiator or that each leader will have to be accompanied to talks by a woman aide? Not necessarily as the action plan will seek the views of women’s organisation, which might not want to participate, as well as try to establish how to include a gender perspective in the settlement process.

As if there are not enough things the two sides disagree on, now they will have the chance to disagree on the gender aspects of the Cyprob. I can just see Prez Nik walking out of talks because the feminist, Tatar would want to include a woman in the rotating presidency.

The big question is why has the UN so provocatively excluded the LGBTIQA from the settlement process? Do they not deserve full, equal and meaningful participation?


THE TABLES have turned on the once-mighty, courtier-in-chief of the presidential palace, Petros Demetriou, director of the presidential office. Demetriou had been Prez Nik’s favourite minion and exploited to the full, issuing orders, threats and generally acting as the super-boss of the palace.

Demetriou was the reason Kyriakos Koushos was removed as government spokesman (not his inability to string two coherent sentences together) and his deputy Panayiotis Sentonas moved to another government sinecure. He was said to have hounded them out of the palace because he did not like them.

But now KK is back at the palace, taking the post of under-secretary to the president that was vacated by Basil Palmer, and Demetriou thinks this is a sign that he has fallen out of favour with the big boss. A distraught Demetriou has been expressing fears to people, who still talk to him, that his days are numbered as the Prez was not being very nice to him.


THREE cheers for finance minister Constantinos Petrides, one of the very few ministers that does not mince his words or peddle platitudes in order to be popular, for having another dig at the brazen insincerity of his former colleague from Paphos, regarding the latter’s presidential ambitions.

In an interview published last Sunday in Kathimerini, Petrides said that what riled him about Nicos Christodoulides were his claims of “absolute sincerity” about not being interested in the presidential elections. He told the interviewer:

“I was annoyed with the written statement at the (Disy) Political Bureau, but also hearing him on television assuring ‘with absolute sincerity’ that he is not occupied with the elections, when I know very well that he is engaging, for some time now, in a proper election campaign. To say one thing and do another is as old-style politics as it gets.”

You can bet your last cent that anyone who feels obliged to preface what he says with affirmations of his honesty or absolute sincerity is being extremely economical with the truth.

Good to see that Christodoulides learned something after his nine years of apprenticeship working with the master of absolute sincerity. Pity he did not also learn from the master how to dye his hair in a way that makes the colour look absolutely natural.


I HAVE to say that I fully agree with the sentiments of Politis’ loony columnist Sener Levent about the MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek public sulking over losing his job at the University of Cyprus. When Kizilyurek was elected MEP with Akel, he took unpaid leave from the university, in the hope he would return after he left the European Parliament gravy train.

Rightly or wrongly, it was against the law to keep the position, once he became a MEP, so the U of Cy pensioned him off. The insufferably pompous Kizilyurek immediately went into a sulk taking the role of a defenceless victim claiming this was a racist decision and that he was targeted because he was a Turkish Cypriot.

Levent took great exception to Kizilyurek’s crying and claim that “they (Greek Cypriots) cannot tolerate one Turkish Cypriot lecturer, they cannot tolerate one Turkish Cypriot MEP.”

Levent asked: “What does it mean they do not tolerate? If they do not tolerate how did they tolerate you for 27 years? Your worked at the university for 27 years.” And who elected you MEP, asked Levent.

“Whoever does not know would think you were elected by the people of Uganda,” he added, explaining that Niyazi got 20,000 votes from the Greek Cypriots that cannot tolerate a Turkish Cypriot MEP.


THE MOST irritating unions, by a distance more insufferable than those of Pasydy and Pasyki, are the teaching unions Poed and Oelmek whose bosses are on an eternal moaning mission. It makes you think that they are afraid they would lose their cushy jobs that involve no teaching if they did not meet their weekly moaning targets.

The week before last we had the Poed gang touring the radio shows threatening to go on strike if schools were not supplied with more replacement teachers and if work on the installation of ventilation systems in classroom did not begin immediately. They also staged a one-hour work stoppage on Monday.

Last week it was the turn of Oelmek’s moaning minnies to take centre stage. They wanted the test-to-stay system at gymnasiums and lyceums suspended because it had led to a surge in infections. And as they were on moaning binge, they also slammed the twice-yearly exams, a topic which is always worth a moan.

Asked why he knew that the surge in infections at schools was because of the test-to-stay measure, Oelmek moaner-in-chief, Costas Hadjisavvas admitted he did not. He wanted the measure suspended even though he did not know that it had caused the surge in cases.


HE CALLED for a meeting with officials of the health ministry and epidemiologists in order to present the data and have them analysed so as to establish whether the test-to-stay measure had been beneficial or not. Hadjisavvas wanted the meeting as soon as possible “so that we can find solutions.”

The union moaners demand explanations directly from the scientific team (are they running the schools?) so they could have a stronger argument when they order the education minister to suspend the measure. If the minister gave in to them, I am sure within a couple of days they would find something else to moan about on state radio.


BANK employees’ union Etyk, was livid because the debt collection company Kedipes, which was set up to recover NPLs of the Co-op Bank on behalf of the state, plans on making staff redundant.

In a dramatic, tearjerker statement, Etyk said the policy of the government cannot be the policy of redundancies and the creation of social problems with the unemployed being led to poverty. Surely finding another job would be a preferable option to poverty.

The union’s real gripe is that Kedipes was not prepared to offer the obscene redundancy packages that Etyk blackmails the banks into paying and it said so. “Kedipes offered a voluntary retirement scheme that was lacking compared to what is given in the rest of the sector.”

If the redundancy package is generous enough, the unemployed would not be led to poverty.


ON A MORE positive note, I hear that the government is considering allowing the unvaccinated to return to bars and nightclubs, as long as they undergo a rapid test. Testing units will be placed outside the clubs, according to Alphanews, and if the clubgoer has a negative result, he or she would be allowed to enter. They will even be allowed to dance as long as they keep their face mask on and keep one metre way from other dancers.

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