Open Letter to President Nikos Anastasiades, Labour Min. Emilianidou

daphne carauna

Every mother is a rose, delicate and fragile, precious and beautiful.

Dear President Anastasiades, Dear Labour Minister Emilianidou,

Please find below a letter I was forced to write to Mrs. Epifaniou of the Welfare Department after going around in circles trying to help my family, in particular my mother, who is in the extremely vulnerable position of being a cancer patient. Due to the frustratingly long waits, and the absurdities we are experiencing in what is supposed to be Cyprus’ social support system, I have to go public.

Head of Homecare department – Welfare

Dear Mrs Epifaniou,

Further to my telephone conversations with Mrs. Irini Savva regarding my mother Photini Fenwick – a Cypriot citizen.

She is a cancer patient suffering from a very difficult and rare case of skin cancer, and is bedridden for three years now, with a high need for care. After many months of going through the Welfare department’s very slow bureaucratic procedures, her subsidy for home care was approved at the full amount of 400 Euros per month. However, she only received 245 Euros for reasons that we do not understand. Mrs. Irini told us that it is because her overall pension on a monthly basis is higher than 600 Euros if you include the 13th salary. But as we made clear in our objection to the initial rejection in 2017 – my mother’s medical costs are much higher than her pension. She has another operation to do in the near future, and the PET scan alone will cost 560 Euros.

In addition, the Social Insurance department has fined her for the past months dues for the woman who takes care of her at home. We were unable to afford the dues until the Welfare department approved the subsidy but it was much lower than expected, meaning we have even more financial worries.

The fines, plus the delays from the Welfare department in helping my mother with financial assistance as is her right have resulted in significant stress and financial pressure on our family.

We appeal to you to help us receive the full amount and to speak with the Social Insurance to stop fining a cancer patient for her critical needs. And to restore the subsidy to the full amount based on the very good reasons written in our objection to the initial rejection of my mother’s request for help.

Cyprus has received hundreds of millions of Euros in assistance from the EU to help vulnerable people. Our family is vulnerable. The difficulties we are going through are a matter of public interest because one in three families will face the often-traumatic situation of taking care of a cancer patient.

It is your responsibility to take care of the welfare of vulnerable people, not put them through more distress.

Please help. A copy will be sent to Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, who has already shown good conscience by approving our initial request on humanitarian grounds after it was rejected in May 2017.


Sarah Fenwick.