Inundated with unnecessary visits and struggling with a very user-unfriendly software system, Gesy GPs say they are unable to cope with their workload since the launch of the long-awaited national health care system on June 1.
Authorities say that no Gesy doctor has officially left the system, though some have decided to stop being GPs – trying to deal with up to 2,500 patients – and just offer specialist services.
Reports surfaced this week that the system was being abused by a public eager to take advantage of universal free healthcare by making unnecessary visits to their GPs, or demanding all the medical tests that they could not afford to get done in previous years.
One Gesy GP, Limassol-based Dr Marios Apostolides, said in a Facebook post earlier in the week that he was overwhelmed.
Chaos reigns in private practices cooperating with Gesy, he said, because patients, taking advantage of the free services, have rushed to request blood analyses, MRI and CT scans.
He said he had suggested these tests to his patients in the past but they had not followed his advice “and now they want to do it all in one day”, forcing him to be an executioner of demands instead of a doctor. But he said he had faith the workload would gradually lessen.
Dr Agis Antonopoulos, a Nicosia GP and cardiologist, is not so sure. He told the Sunday Mail that he decided last week to stop practising as a Gesy GP. He cited the impossibility of handling 2,500 patients and shortcomings in the Gesy software system that made his work even more challenging because it is time consuming and not user-friendly.
“It is impossible to serve 2,500 people. I’m buried under mountains of paperwork for prescriptions,” Antonopoulos told the Sunday Mail. He said he would remain in Gesy as a cardiologist.