By Constantinos Psillides
Health minister Petros Petrides said he was shocked and outraged on Friday when he paid a surprise visit to the Linopetra outpatients clinic in Limassol and found it in chaos.
The minister’s visit was prompted by press reports, saying the clinic was overflowing with patients and that staff were unable to cope.
What he found there was misfiled paperwork, missing staff and patients being neglected.
“How is it possible for an employee to be absent and nobody thought to replace him? Why wasn’t his request for a sick day filed properly so he could be replaced? This is unacceptable,” said the minister. He said he had asked for a list of all employees in the clinic and the people who replace them in case they are absent. “This list will be followed to the letter from now on,” he said.
Petrides was also very critical on the doctors’ shift rotation, pointing out that on Thursdays the clinic is crammed with people because nine different specialists are seeing patients on the same day. “Why weren’t they spread out evenly throughout the week to avoid overcrowding? These are simple problems that can be solved easily,” the minister said.
CyBC reported that the minister got into a shouting match with the administrators, telling media that whoever was to blame would answer for the situation. Responding to a reporter’s question asking whether staff at the clinic were doing whatever they wanted, the minister said: “Not any more”.
Petrides dismissed claims that the problems were due to cutbacks, saying that people should stop using this as an excuse. “We have to place above all, our mission as doctors, nurses and paramedics,” he said.
State doctors’ union PASYKI said in response that they were
“making superhuman efforts in adverse conditions to provide quality care”.
The union said the congestion was a result of the increased visits to state facilities because of the economic crisis and because of budget cuts.