Cyprus Mail

Outrage over slashed therapy sessions for cerebral palsy children

cerebral palsy
File photo

Parents and friends of children with cerebral palsy on Wednesday denounced the decision of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) to slash the number of physiotherapy sessions provided under the general health system (Gesy).

In a hard-hitting statement shared also with the health ministry, the patients’ association, and the physiotherapists association, Angalia Elpidas said that the decision runs against previous commitments by the HIO and was taken without consulting them.

The group castigated the decision to reduce the number of sessions for children over 12 from 48 a year to 24, and to differentiate according to age and the seriousness of the condition, as unfair and discriminatory.

Physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy has different, but equally important objectives, depending on each case. The need for physiotherapy should not have age limits, it added.

Children need at least two such sessions a week, and the HIO had back in June 2020 given assurances that it would ensure referrals would cover this minimum, wherever necessary.

“Therefore, the further reduction of 48 sessions a year that you set in the beginning to 24 for children 12 and over leaves us astonished and deeply disappointed, as well as the way you separated them in age groups and seriousness of disability, leaving children with serious disability completely vulnerable,” Angalia Elpidas said.

It asked that the measure be suspended immediately and called for an urgent meeting.

The HIO had taken on board suggestions of scientific committees that include general clinical guidance, without giving the names of the scientists or the data they used in making their recommendation.

“We demand transparency from an organisation that manages more that €1bn just as we demand a health system that respects those with chronic conditions offering them quality services based on their real needs,” it concluded.


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