A doctor living in the north has managed to register as a medical practitioner in the south, with the list of his GESY patients continuing to grow.
According to the Voice Of The Island, Turkish Cypriot pathologist Okan Dagli managed to get his name included in the GESY network of physicians. The newly-launched national healthcare system of the Republic of Cyprus allows primary care physicians in the network to offer medical services and referrals to their patients who are beneficiaries.
But due to a system restriction that required GESY doctors to list a physical address in the Republic of Cyprus, most patients in the north could not visit hospitals in the south on referrals outside the system even if they were working in the south and paying social security taxes.
Dagli, an active member of the Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative, said that he enrolled out of necessity after he was approached by Turkish Cypriot trade unions that represented workers living in the north but working in the south, including pensioners.
Dagli enrolled out of necessity after he was approached by Turkish Cypriot trade unions that represented workers who lived in the north but worked in the south
The Famagusta-based doctor, who obtained certificates verifying his credentials and registered with the Cyprus Medical Association, was offered office space in Pyla, a bicommunal village in Cyprus, where he visits twice a week. The room, which is located in the building of the local Turkish Cypriot community leader, has also served as a legal physical address for Dagli to fulfill his GESY requirement and conduct his official business.
“GESY makes it possible for us to write a prescription without seeing our patient when it is a matter of routine, or for renewing a prescription or giving a doctor referral, whenever this is possible,” Dagli said.
This means that the doctor can see two kinds of patients at his private practice in the north, in Famagusta, including Turkish Cypriots who are not enrolled in GESY and those who live in the north but paying into the system in the south.
“I can continue to see my Turkish Cypriot patients who work in the south at my private practice in Famagusta but also my other patients who are not GESY beneficiaries,” Dagli said, adding that “those who are beneficiaries do not have to travel to Pyla but I can help them in Famagusta.”
Dagli said all the administrative steps in the process are done electronically, through a GESY web interface, such as writing prescriptions, patient referrals, and ordering medical tests.
But the doctor also brought up a controversial issue, that of Turkish Cypriot pensioners in the north who are eligible for GESY but lack a physical address in the south.
“Greek Cypriots who live in the Karpas region (north) are indeed eligible to benefit from GESY without physically living in the south,” Dagli said.
The issue has been raised by Turkish Cypriot trade unions, according to the doctor, who said a few days ago the organizations made a decision to take legal action.
Officials from the health ministry and Health Insurance Organization (HIO) in the Republic of Cyprus are reportedly looking into the issue.