Cyprus Mail

Pensioners meet Hadjipantelas, point out health needs

old person

Pensioners are asking for podiatrists to be covered by the general health system (Gesy) and want simplified procedures for hearing aids.

They are also concerned about the sums they have to pay for medicine, including over-the-counter drugs not covered by Gesy.

These and other issues were discussed at a meeting between their association Ekysy, the association of pensioners with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas.

In a statement issued on Friday, Ekysy said emphasis was given to the cost of medicine. Thursday’s meeting was constructive, but no decision was taken, and a new meeting will be held with the participation also of the Health Insurance Organisation and other interested groups in the search for a solution.

Ekysy said a majority of pensioners now pay more for medicine with Gesy than they did before with the health card that was issued to specific population groups, in part because a lot of over-the-counter drugs that the elderly use such as anti-flu, cough syrup, medical creams, vitamins, pills or injections for osteoporosis are not covered.

In addition, pharmaceuticals pensioners used to get from the state pharmacies are now outside Gesy, obliging them to buy them from private pharmacies at market rates, it added.

Another issue that has arisen recently is that new patients cannot obtain specific, costly drugs on Gesy whereas older ones are allowed with the co-payment of €1. Examples cited are drugs needed by patients with heart issues such as Xarelto or Jardiance anticoagulant which cost about €80 a month.

Ekysy also want podiatrists to be included in Gesy, for improvements in procedures to secure a subsidy for hearing aid, as well as for the scrapping of age limit so that older women are entitled to mammograms through Gesy.

The group also expressed concern over the state of public hospitals, particularly as regards patient care, as a number of doctors have left. Moreover, citing a shortage of beds, private hospitals only appear to respond to ‘easy cases’ and turn patients away, it added.

Another acute problem is the long delay in booking an appointment with a doctor, it added.

Finally, they raised the issue of cost saying that whereas before medical care was nearly or completely free at state hospitals, with Gesy they must pay a 2.65 per cent contribution on their pension as well as the full cost of medicine not covered by the national health scheme.

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