The president is calling on private doctors who exaggerate on their demands to “come down to earth” and join health reform, as public good should come ahead of private wealth.
In a televised interview this week, President Nicos Anastasiades addressed the ongoing efforts to set up a National Health Scheme (NHS) in the Republic of Cyprus. He called on private doctors who rejected a government proposal to join healthcare reform to put the public good ahead of private wealth.
The comments came days after pediatricians in the private sector rejected proposals to join NHS that included 20% higher wage earnings than previously stated.
The rejected plan was a last ditch effort during negotiations between the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) and Cyprus Medical Association (CMA). According to Kathimerini Cyprus, family doctors and pediatricians were being offered 20% higher earnings that translated into €130,000 for a doctor with 875 children on his or her patient list.
Pediatricians, who were being consulted by their technical and legal teams according to Kathimerini sources, were not in agreement with the proposal.
Show the tax returns
But Anastasiades said the offer was “more than generous” and called on the private doctors to submit their tax returns for the last seven years, so that the government can evaluate current earnings and pay accordingly.
The president’s reference on tax returns did not go unnoticed during the interview, with a follow up question raising the issue again.
Tax evasion has been a topic of discussion in multiple media reports, with allegations against doctors, lawyers and other professionals. But it has been particularly difficult to delve into the issue of private doctors, as many patients are reportedly being asked to pay cash for their visits and those asking for a receipt end up paying more money.
'Those who gave the Hippocratic Oath did not do so only to get rich,' the president said
The NHS would essentially enable the HIO to collect money in the form of tax contributions and then pay doctors who participate in the system based on a number of criteria.
But private doctors worry that the NHS, known as “GESY” in the debate, would have an artificial ceiling with wage caps for doctors due to its low-cost model.
Government officials insist that GESY would pay out generously as doctors who do a good job will have plenty of patients thus earnings would be high, clarifying that this is not a salary but compensation based on NHS criteria.
Private doctors insist that the HIO proposals are not clear and that they have no way of knowing how much would be their final salary.
Anastasiades says the plan would provide for revisions every five years, in order to address any possible problems in the compensation system.
“Those who gave the Hippocratic Oath did not do so only to get rich,” the president added during the interview.