The government is evaluating a proposal to bring the process of sending patients abroad for treatment under the umbrella of Gesy.

According to health ministry spokesman Dimitris Constantinou, the details of the move are still being prepared and discussions regarding the idea are underway.

He told the Cyprus Mail that as a result, the exact details of the proposal have not yet been defined, and any potential changes in the process for patients are as yet unclear.

Currently, patients who require treatment abroad apply through the health ministry and have their case examined by an attached committee.

Earlier, President Nikos Christodoulides had told Phileleftheros that a small part of the process would remain under the control of the health ministry, that being for those not covered by Gesy and “very very urgent incidents which need immediate handling”.

The audit service slammed this comment in a later reaction, saying “we consider this bad practice. By definition, serious health issues which require referral abroad are usually urgent and therefore the separation will certainly create problems and ambiguity of roles and responsibilities”.

In addition, they said the current system of overseas patient referrals “has been highly pathogenic and problematic for too many years”.

They added that the current system “is not consistent” with the law, and says that any political decision be regulated.

They also said the Health insurers’ organisation (HIO) “handled matters in a way that, compared to the ministry, left it particularly exposed”.

Any decision on the matter “requires the passing of new regulations which will ensure the integrity of the process. Under certain conditions, an amendment to legislation may also be required”, they said.