A second case of corruption involving ENT doctors is taking place, following new evidence that came forth during a recent trial.
Twelve Ear-Nose-Throat doctors, including eight otolaryngologists in the public sector and four in private practice, appeared in court on Thursday to face corruption charges, the second case involving kickbacks between a private clinic and state doctors.
Three of the doctors received prison sentences in late April after being found guilty on bribery charges in an earlier case filed in 2017. Four of the defendants have retired according to local media.
The initial case, which was unearthed during tax audits, involved accusations of financial irregularities in patient referrals from public hospitals to a private hearing clinic. In many cases, patients were coaxed into buying "better hearing aids" from the private company while similar quality was offered in public hospitals.
The court heard testimony that a €300 cheque given to a doctor was deposited in his wife’s bank account
The new case comes after a Nicosia ENT doctor, whose serving time was due to be completed in March 2019, was in fact released last year after receiving a presidential pardon in April 2018. And the latest case emerged after additional information and evidence were discovered in the course of a police investigation, which was being carried out in the previous case.
One of the state doctors admitted on Thursday that he accepted a bribe when he received a €300 cheque from a clinic for referring a patient there. The court heard proof that the money was deposited in his wife’s bank account, while a sentencing hearing has been scheduled for July 15.
Six other defendants pleaded not guilty while the remaining doctors in the case will be arraigned on new charges in early October.
ENT doctors and GESY
The newly-launched national healthcare scheme in the Republic of Cyprus, dubbed GESY, has been facing a number of challenges including uncertainty over whether enough ENT doctors would join the GESY network.
As of mid-June, just over a dozen ENT doctors have joined GESY, two weeks after its official launch.