Cyprus Mail

Sparks fly over Gesy at heated committee meeting (Updated)

odysseas michaelides and yiannaki
Auditor general Odysseas Michaelides and health ministry permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki at Thursday's House committee meeting (Photo Christos Theodorides)

The House watchdog committee erupted into a shouting match on Thursday as the rolling scandal over abuses within Gesy continued, with one person being expelled from the meeting as police were called in.

The war of words took place amid fresh revelations as to the extent of the abuse occurring within Gesy, as auditor general Odysseas Michaelides presented to the committee a case in which one doctor claims to have worked 37 hours a day, and another claiming 29 hours.

The two doctors, according to claims they filed for compensation, indicate that they work on average over 14 hours a day in outpatient care.

The auditor has requested that the police investigate potential criminal offences as the two gynaecologists earned over €6m from Gesy, while according to data provided by the tax department, they did not file tax returns.

But the auditor general’s report was partially eclipsed by the showdown between head of the federation of patients’ associations (Osak) Marios Kouloumas and committee president Zacharias Koulia (Diko MP).

The row broke out as Michaelides claimed that the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) is currently purchasing medicines up to five times more than the state had been paying prior to Gesy’s introduction.

That led to interruptions by HIO chief Thomas Antoniou and Kouloumas, with the latter being asked to leave the meeting by its chair Koulias – who then requested the police get involved.

For his part, Kouloumas said that it’s the second time he has attended the meeting without being given the chance to speak, saying he waited four hours last time.

And while the spotlight shifted away from the auditor general and his report, details within it stand out: one of the gynaecologists claims to have seen 70 women in one day, further claiming to see 25 women on average per day in outpatient care.

It also emerged on Thursday that two doctors have been suspended from Gesy pending their investigation into alleged abuse of the system.

The first doctor was flagged following “suspicious” activity, such as carrying out a supposed 80 per cent of all operations within a specific specialised field. Specifically, they filed claims for 1,149 “activities” while a total of 1,440 were filed by all other doctors across the system for that same procedure.

The list goes on however: the doctor also claimed that they carried out 2,757 procedures within another field when 4,505 were carried out overall by other doctors – thus claiming that they did 61 per cent of the procedures.

Details were not immediately available as to their field of specialty or over how many years or months the procedures allegedly took place.

Another doctor, according to daily Phileleftheros, has been suspended for filing claims for procedures which never took place – even going as far as listing the same codes for various patients.



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