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Defendants, but with stethoscope in hand – Doctors prosecuted continue to practice

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It was August 6, 2021, when we heard the news that a specialist doctor was issuing fake vaccination certificates. As the days passed and the tangle of the case began to unfold, the issue of punishing doctors who were proven to commit such crimes was raised. In fact, meetings were held between the Ministry of Health, the Pancyprian Medical Association and the Legal Service, with the aim of amending the legislation governing the association and tightening the penalties it may impose. Despite the intense mobilizations and promises by the Minister of Health, Michalis Hadjipandelas, almost a year later no proposal has been brought before the Parliament for an amendment to the Law on Doctors, which was last amended in 1991. This fact results in Do doctors who are being prosecuted or have already been convicted of criminal offenses continue to practice their profession.

Recommendations

As “P” is able to know, after the meetings last August, at the end of the month, the PIS submitted to the Ministry of Health and the Legal Service its suggestions for the amendments that should be made based on the existing legislation. As things stand today, a doctor who is a member of the PIS, who is being investigated for serious offenses, may continue to perform his function, as there is no procedure for him to be dismissed while the investigation is ongoing. As “P” is informed, among the suggestions of the PIS is the temporary suspension of the license to practice the profession through a court for specific offenses, with a unilateral application to be submitted by the Association, after a written notification from the Police for the offenses under investigation against a doctor. The court will be able to issue the decree and then hear the doctor. This proposal, as well as a number of other proposals, have been submitted since the end of August to the Ministry of Health, which according to information a month later sent its own position on the issue to the Legal Service. From that day on, there seems to be no progress, at a time when there are many doctors who are currently being prosecuted for criminal offenses, while in some cases they are doctors who have already been expelled from the GESS.

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Apart from the specialist doctor, who allegedly issued 7 fake vaccination certificates, in the last year the complaints against doctors have increased, a fact that is directly related to their activity in GESS and the fact that patients have access to the file of their beneficiaries. In fact, OAU, after the fire it received for the abuses in GESS, has eliminated at least 10 providers from the system, while it has also reported several of them to the Police. From last summer until the beginning of 2022, the Police has examined a total of 8 cases, which emerged mainly after complaints from the Ministry of Health and citizens. In fact, the three have already been promoted to the Legal Service. One concerns the doctor, contracted with GESS, who allegedly registered in the system a fictitious number of specific health care services. The investigation revealed that in at least one case, the doctor falsely stated to the system that he had given seven injections to the patient, with the latter stating that he had not given a single injection. The second complaint, which arose again from the OAU, has to do with a gynecologist from Limassol. This is the case of a 73-year-old woman who complained that her doctor had operated on her to remove her uterus. compensation from the GESS for the specific intervention. It is also worth noting that based on what is mentioned in the elderly woman's complaint, after informing the doctor about what the second gynecologist who examined her found, she tried to change the application for compensation she had paid to the OAU. She is being investigated for violations of the General Health System Law, forgery and circulation of a forged document, embezzlement of money with false representations, as well as negligent and reckless acts. However, apart from the doctors who are accused of their behavior within the GESS, there are also professionals who are prosecuted for sexual offenses. A typical example is a gynecologist who worked in a public hospital and is accused of attempted sexual assault by penetration, obscene assault, and sexual harassment. According to the complaint, the gynecologist allegedly attacked a staff member of the hospital in early August, which resulted in his indefinite availability by the Public Service Commission. At the same time that the doctor continues to hold a license to practice, but also to represent doctors as a member of a union.

Source: politis.com.cy

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