A number of groups and public figures on Thursday slammed the cabinet’s appointment of the head of the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) to the board of directors of the Health Insurance Organsisation – the state body tasked with overseeing the general health system or Gesy.

In a statement, the left-leaning trade union PEO said the choice of CyMA head Petros Agathangelou “raises questions.”

The union pointed out that under the law governing Gesy, the board of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) takes decisions regarding the remuneration of doctors.

“How is it possible that the HIO’s board include the chairman of those who, institutionally and under the law, negotiate the salaries of his members? Is this what the government means when it says it supports Gesy?”

Chiming in, former health minister Constantinos Ioannou posted on Twitter: “It is now crystal clear what are the intentions of some in appointing to the board of the HIO a person who fought – and still fights – against Gesy for his own reasons (which are respected) and who used to refer to doctors joining Gesy as ‘apostates’.”

The appointment reeks of a conflict of interest, said Ioannou, given that the HIO’s board decides matters such as the reimbursement of doctors.

“When handing over the ministry a year ago, I had told the new minister to cherish Gesy. How we have fallen short.”

It’s understood Ioannou alluded to his successor Michalis Hadjipantela.

And Giorgos Pamboridis, the health minister before Ioannou, wrote on social media: “Protecting Gesy from its enemies was your personal responsibility, President Anastasiades.

“I used to believe you had the fortitude to resist the agents of the establishment. But your move today constitutes an unbecoming assault on what has been achieved with much labour.”

Likewise, head of the federation of Cyprus patients’ associations (Osak) Marios Kouloumas expressed his disappointment with the appointment

“Unfortunately, everything built with years of toil has been dismantled.”