By Peter Stevenson
POST Offices will in March begin issuing health cards to the public in an effort to assist swamped citizens’ service centres.
In August it was decided that citizen service centres would only renew people’s medical cards if they were due to expire within the month.
Since the new hospital fees were introduced on August 1, the centres have been inundated with people wanting to update their medical cards even if they were not close to expiring.
The procedure of preparing post offices to deal with the influx of members of the public looking to renew their health cards began roughly two weeks ago following the Cabinet’s approval according chief postal superintendent official Sofronis Tsiartas.
“From March we will be able to issue health cards at our district offices in Nicosia (Prodromos Road), in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. Three operators will serve the public in Nicosia, three in Limassol, three in Larnaca and two in Paphos,” he said.
Tsiartas added that the department of personnel administration gave the green light on Monday for postal services to begin issuing health cards on the first working day of March.
“We are aware that during the process there will be easy and difficult cases. The easy cases will be dealt with on the same day while the more difficult cases will be dealt with separately in a different queue so people will not have to wait for hours,” he said.
Those who want to renew their health cards will have to take a ticket and wait until it is their turn, enabling them to know roughly how long they will have to wait to be served, Tsiartas explained. That way people know if they will have to wait for hours they can then go and get other jobs done and come back.
The office has been prepared, he added, to make sure there is enough seating for visitors and from next Monday postal services will begin a test-run for the new service to ensure that on March 4 there will be not operational problems.
“There are currently around 90,000 people who have not renewed their health cards and it remains to be seen whether the public will use the citizen service centres or the new post office service. It will depend on the service,” he said.