Cypriot surgeon Alkiviadis Alkiviadous says he will be forced to move back overseas over his decision not to join GESY, with the private physician crying foul over an inflexible system that is slowly being bought by foreign money.
Alkiviadous, a doctor in orthopedic surgery and microsurgery, told a Sigmalive television program that he is a shareholder in Ygia Polyclinic Private Hospital, which is set to join the state’s GESY medical insurance network on September 1.
But as a physician, he won’t be allowed to see patients at his clinic because he has not joined GESY, a system designed to cut costs and streamline medical care on the island.
'I want to be able to see my patients when they need me, this is the only reason I did not join GESY'
No official notice has been sent out but the he says this is what they have been told.
“I want to be able to see my patients when they need me, this is the only reason I did not join GESY,” Alkiviadous said.
The Limassol-based doctor went on to say he was not in favor of telling patients they would need to wait one or two months before going to see him, a comment understood to be a reference to waiting lists through the GESY network.
But Alkiviadous says he had bought his own equipment right next door and now he has nowhere to go to set up his own practice outside GESY.
“I work with medical centers abroad, maybe the first option would be to go abroad,” he said.
Alkiviadous said he had a meeting with the health ministry but emphasized that the issue was legal, saying it was up to Parliament to pass legislation that would allow him options in Cyprus.
Current laws about GESY do not allow non-network surgeons to operate on the premises of a GESY-registered facility, even if Alkiviadous remains a shareholder.
“Where are we going to go to serve or patients?” he asked.
Alkiviadous is not alone in his criticism after a handful of his colleagues have also criticized the single-payer system, fearing the state monopoly coupled with planning problems was a “dangerous model.”
Cyprus sold to foreigners
“Unfortunately we have been defeated by foreign money,” Alkiviadous said, referring to several private clinics and hospitals, including Ygia, that have been bought by foreign money.
“All of Cyprus will be sold to foreigners,” he added.
Alkiviadous says he has made up his mind but there are still patients that currently need his care He also reiterated his position that he wants to remain available for his patients outside GESY.
Asking for time to set up new clinic
“I have other colleagues and we are all ready to leave [Cyprus],” he said, adding one other option would be to be given time until they can set up a new private practice.
“We asked lawmakers to give us a couple of years until we can set up something private,” Alkiviadous said.
The doctor went to say that there were many patients affected by the issue and expressed the fear that there would be no longer private medical care in Cyprus.