President of the HIO board Thomas Antoniou said on Friday the first person he will inform of his resignation is President Nicos Anastasiades.
On Thursday Antoniou said he would resign from the Health Insurance Organisation, which oversees the national health scheme Gesy, once the controversial appointment of Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) head Dr Petros Agathangelou to the board becomes official.
“I don’t want to take a position. I have to follow the procedures. I except the appointment of Petros Agathangelou to come officially as a letter from the minister of health. Then I will inform the president of the republic, clearly outlining my intention,” Antoniou said.
He said he had not hidden his views and his concerns over the appointment of Agathangelou to the HIO board; he said he would resign soon after the appointment was announced, if the president went ahead with it.
“I respect the process, first comes the appointment and I will then inform the president first and then publicly announce” my resignation, Antoniou said.
The news came as Eliana Nicolaou, president of the committee in charge of monitoring conflict of interest, told CyBC the committee would be looking into the issue.
Nicolaou said that Agathangelou would be asked to submit a statement, which the committee would discuss when it meets again in August.
Wide-ranging criticism has been levelled at Agathangelou taking part in the running of the HIO as he heads the medical association. There would be a conflict of interest when a representative of the doctors sat on the board of an organisation that decided the remuneration of doctors, it was argued.
But the biggest objection to the appointment was linked to Agathangelou’s initial opposition to the introduction of Gesy. As president of CyMA he had urged doctors not to join it. He has not joined it.
His defenders have pointed out that one person on a 13-member board, will not be able to impose his views. Agathangelou said on Monday he is a supporter of Gesy and is keen to work towards its improvement.
Asked if he had been pressured by those in Gesy to remain in his post, Antoniou said he had made many friends in Gesy in the process of implementing it, all of whom have an opinion and some had urged him to stay in his position.
He said the issue over Agathangelou is not personal. “My respect for the medical community is also given to Petros Agathangelou and I have nothing against him personally. I respect his decision to stay out of Gesy,” he said.
He said they had worked well in their respective positions as presidents of the boards of HIO and CyMA, but the issues now raised about his possible seat on the HIO board were ethical and legal.