QUEUES outside the citizens service centres have grown in the recent days to the point where people are waiting up to five hours to be seen.
Most of the influx has to do with people renewing their medical cards based on the new fees’ system introduced on August 1.
It is estimated that until January 31, 2014, some 200,000 state medical cards will have to be replaced.
“I think it will take me five hours to get what I came for,” one woman told journalists yesterday.
“People come, take a number and leave and then come back again later. I might have to leave and come back tomorrow,” she said.
Another member of the public said he had been waiting for four hours to replace his health card, and renew his identification card.
Head of the Nicosia citizen service centre Katerina Economou told state TV yesterday that people felt they needed to change their cards as soon as possible even though some were not due to expire until the end of the year.
“People feel they must change their cards sooner rather than later even before they expire,” said Economou.
State health cards can only be renewed at the citizen service centres, this is one of the main reasons why there is currently such a problem.
According to Economou, the ministry of finance has approved the building of a new centre.
“There should also be centres in Strovolos and Lakatamia, for example, which comprise half of Nicosia,” said another customer yesterday.
The centre is also talking with the ministry of health to find ways in which this problem can be solved.
“Our centres are overworked because we do not only provide the service of replacing state health cards, we also provide many other services,” Economou said.
She asked people to be patient and to wait until their cards are about to expire.
Cards that do not expire such as those of pensioners must be replaced by the end of October, while those that will expire must be replaced by the end of January, 2014.