Negotiations over Gesy between private hospitals and the government are progressing as those “representing 85 per cent of the private sector’s capacity” are interested in joining.

“Ten hospitals are in discussion for joining the Gesy programme,” President of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) Andreas Papaconstantinou told state broadcaster CyBC on Tuesday.

Earlier this month the health ministry pledged €70m to encourage private hospitals to join the second phase of Gesy, set to be introduced this summer. The government’s real Gesy test is whether they are able to provide in-patient care, for which they will rely on private hospitals.

“We reiterate that according to our plans the money will not be necessary and will not be used – but of course we cannot rule it out entirely,” he said.

The €70m in government guarantees is intended to cover financial costs of private hospitals and clinics in the event the HIO runs out of money.

Papaconstantinou also said that hospitals from every district were involved in the discussions.

“Many members of Pasin (the private hospitals) were waiting for negotiations to conclude, but in the background they were positive. Others were not members of Pasin and have already begun talks,” he said.

He also emphasised that it was not only the amount of hospitals that are interested, about ten he said, but also the size of them – which cover about 85 per cent of all private care.

President of Pasin Savvas Kadis said that the memorandum reached between the HIO and the government will be voted on.

He also said that the €70m will be absolutely necessary if most private hospitals join Gesy, but he categorically rejected claims that the funds would be used to clear their debts.

According to Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, the €70m would be paid only to cover possible deficits likely to emerge in implementing what has been agreed between the HIO and Pasin on in-patient care for the years 2021 and 2022.

The move was criticised by Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, who likened Gesy to a taxpayer money sink.

“The government used to plug the deficits of state hospitals, and now it will be financing the deficits of private hospitals,” he charged on Thursday.

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