Patients on Friday threatened to take measures if the appointment of head of the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) to the board of the HIO, which oversees the running of Gesy, goes ahead.

The federation of Cyprus patients’ associations (Osak) has been one of the loudest voices against Dr Petros Agathangelou’s proposed appointment and on Thursday evening held a meeting to discuss it.

Osak president Marios Kouloumas said the federation will call on the leaders of other social organisations, a total of 14 of which have already spoken out against Agathangelou’s appointment to decide together how to proceed.

He said if the appointment goes ahead Osak will withdraw its trust in the minister of health. And, following in the footsteps of HIO board President Thomas Antoniou who has said he will resign once Agathangelou is officially named to the post, Osak said it too will withdraw as a federation from the HIO board.

“We have many messages from society that they are ready to support mobilisations,” Kouloumas said, adding that members of the public have urged them to take to the streets. “If the government goes ahead [with the appointment] it will be a signal that it is going ahead with the dissolution of Gesy,” Kouloumas said.

“There is a revolt of society as a whole,” he said, “and 14 organisations representing the very large majority of society demand the revocation of the appointment”.

The Osak president stressed that their problem with the Agathangelou appointment was not personal.

The appointment, he said, “is an attempt to change the composition of the board in such a way as to create problems and in the future to derail the reform. This leaves us no room but to step up our reactions.”

Their message was once again backed by main opposition party Akel.

“The organised patients, all the trade unions of the country, movements and bodies that worked for Gesy, two former ministers of health, almost the whole of society has reacted to the appointment of Agathangelou to the HIO Board of Directors,” Akel said.

“Already a member of the board has resigned, and reports show the HIO President intending to resign in protest at this decision by the government. What else is needed for those in power to understand that they need to take back their decision?”

Akel said the appointment clearly shows the Disy government working with big business to end Gesy. “With the same recipe that they arranged the closure of the Cooperative bank, they now want to change the social character of Gesy.

“The message of society is one and it is clear and resounding: the government should revoke here and now the appointment of Agathangelou to the HIO”.