The cabinet on Thursday announced they were terminating the appointment of Dr Petros Agathangelou, president of the Cyprus Medical Association (PIS), as a board member of the Health Insurance Organisation.
Agathangelou, whose appointment to the HIO – which oversees Gesy – had been announced in the government’s gazette but he had not received an official appointment letter from the cabinet.
The latest news comes following Agathangelou’s announcement in a letter on Thursday morning stating his respect for employers’ organisation Keve’s decision to revoke their support for his appointment to the board of the HIO.
“…the decision from Keve’s collective bodies is respected,” Agathangelou said in a letter dated July 28.
Keve, following speculation, had decided on Wednesday afternoon to withdraw their proposal for the appointment of doctors to the board of HIO, and by extension rescind their support for Agathangelou’s appointment, citing competing interpretations of the law governing Gesy, specifically of Article 8 dealing with conflicts of interest.
Agathangelou was also a known opponent of Gesy and had even urged doctors to abstain from participating in it. His appointment came under heavy fire by various parties ever since it was announced by the cabinet, including critics from patients’ groups, political parties, and various media outlets.
Keve’s letter to the president announcing and explaining its decision was making rounds on social media on Wednesday night.
At the same time, a leaked letter signed by Agathangelou, dated July 27, purporting to be his response to Keve’s decision calling Keve to “assume responsibilities over the revocation of his appointment and officially make public their reasons for said decision” was also on social media.
In a new letter on Thursday morning, Agathangelou clarified that his letter dated July 27 purporting to be his response to Keve’s decision, was actually communicated to Keve before it had even made its decision public and that it was an exhortation towards Keve to assume the responsibility of the revocation publicly and in writing, as he himself was not intending to reject his own appointment.
“That is why I would like to call those who rushed and falsely presented and reproduced my letter to Keve (leaked to the media) as an alleged response to their decision, to restore the truth so as to avoid the further misleading of the public opinion,” he added in the letter.
Agathangelou moreover praised the employers’ organisation Oeb for their enduring support to doctor’s and for the coherence of their policies. Oeb was a strong supporter in Agathangelou’s participation in HIO’s board.
Supporting his board participation was also private doctors’ association Enik.
“We will continue our efforts at providing quality health services as well as at maintaining our scientific dignity,” Agathangelou concluded.
Keve in its letter to the president, citing Article 8, also brought to the fore a case of an alleged conflict of interest involving the president of the board of HIO Thomas Antoniou whose spouse is a service provider through Gesy.
In addition, preceding Keve’s allegation, private doctor’s association Enik had also pointed out the same conflict.
“Based on the Law’s provisions, Thomas Antoniou is illegally the president of HIO as his wife is a health service provider through it. Moreover, worker’s organisations Peo and Sek also have representatives within the HIO’s board while at the same time have businesses (pharmacies and medical practices) in the health sector that are contracted via Gesy. The same applies to patient’s organisation Osak, whose members include the Cyprus rheumatology society and the anti-cancer society Pasykaf offering their services through Gesy,” it said.
In response to Enik’s allegations, the HIO had issued an announcement on Wednesday stating that the relevant conflict of interest provisions concerns the members themselves individually and do not extend to spouses.
In response, the audit office in a Twitter post on Thursday announced they would investigate the matter.
“The provision of health services by an individual and their corresponding remuneration, affects the interests of her husband directly. HIO holds that as a conflict. Thus, the complaint concerning the HIO president will be examined,” the twitter post read.