Patients undergo “unimaginable suffering” because of an ongoing spat between physiotherapists and the and the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), the federation of patients’ associations said on Tuesday.

They called on both sides to “put the interests of patients first” and enter dialogue to solve the problem.

The statement comes as the physiotherapists plan a work stoppage for a second successive Thursday after walking out for four hours last week.

Osak said it is “watching on with great concern” and that its position is “physiotherapy services should be offered to those patients who need them and be kept well away from abuse and misuse of the system”.

It added that if abuses are being noticed within the system, the HIO should locate them and punish those who abuse Gesy, while also criticising the “dogmatic positions” of both sides.

Earlier the HIO slammed physiotherapists for their planned action.

HIO said it is “yet again calling on the Pancyprian Union of Physiotherapists to call off their announced protest”.

During the four years that Gesy has been operational, the HIO said it has given “tangible written examples of its availability to cooperate with all of its providers and of the productive way in which consultations with unions of health professionals can take place”.

It then accused the physiotherapists of “choosing the path of confrontation”, suggesting the need for an increase in Gesy’s budget without committing to cooperation or taking measures to make sure those who have the right to care get it.

In addition, the HIO said it has “already moved forward with the adjustment of the budget and the coverage of the needs of the aforementioned cases” and has committed itself to move forward with more budget adjustments should needs require.

HIO reiterated its readiness to consult the physiotherapists, calling on them to enter a dialogue.