The federation of Cyprus patients’ associations (Osak) aired its concerns on Thursday over Gesy’s funds, expressing fears that the money earmarked for healthcare was at risk of being meddled with and used for other purposes.

In a press conference, Osak chairman Charalambos Papadopoulos said discussions within the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) has made it apparent there are risks that someone could “put a hand” in Gesy’s funds.

Papadopoulos said this would never be tolerated and underlined that currently, legislation is in place that restricts the use of Gesy’s financials only for healthcare purposes. However, Osak’s concern is that “with the creation of a huge reserve, others will be inspired to move forward with a legal amendment allowing these funds to be used for other purposes.”

“We will under no circumstances allow others to boost Gesy’s funds with the ultimate goal to use them for consolidating public finances. We don’t want to see any more phenomena such as the social security fund.”

Osak member Miltos Miltiadous who represents the federation with the HIO upped the ante between the ongoing barbs surrounding HIO’s budget and the finance ministry “it appears there are circles at the finance ministry which see the health sector in a purely numbers manner.”

He added that the government’s intention “is not to strengthen Gesy” because if that was the case, then the 56 job positions the HIO wanted approved would not have been turned down by the finance ministry.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Makis Keravnos said the focus should be on improving productivity rather than expanding the workforce.

Seeking to draw a contract, Militadous highlighted that just last month, the government sought parliament’s approval for 700 new state sector jobs.

“We are now convinced there is an agenda behind what Makis Keravnos says over Gesy,” Papadopoulos underlined.

Citing EU figures, Papadopoulos stated that public health expenditure across the block is at 11 per cent of GDP. In Cyprus, this figure amounts to 9.4 per cent.

“The goal is a sustainable Gesy, which will increase the productivity and quality of health services, while at the same time fighting any abuse of the system, so that funds are allocated in a more rational way to quality health services.”