Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Health

Crunch meeting on doctors’ strike

Health Minister Philippos Patsalis

By Constantinos Psillides

Health Minister Philippos Patsalis will on Friday make a last-attempt to avoid a two-hour work stoppage by the public sector doctors scheduled for Monday.

According to Patsalis, the stoppage is “completely unnecessary since every single one of the union demands has either been resolved or is in its way to be resolved.”

Patsalis appeared to be optimistic for the outcome of Friday’s meeting, saying that both parties could reach an agreement.

Public sector doctors union (PASYKI) decided earlier in the week to go for a two-hour stoppage, with union boss Maro Kontou warning that this was just the beginning.

PASYKI accuses the minister of breaking a series of commitments he made to the union regarding overtime pay, job security for newly-hired doctors and a series of promotions to hospital administrator.

More specifically, PASYKI is demanding €800,000 in overtime for 2014 alone, assurances that under the proposed National Health Scheme (NHS) newly-hired doctors won’t be out of a job and that a moratorium on promotions to hospital administrator and assistant hospital administrator will be lifted.

The doctors claimed in their statement that the minister misled them when he said that the issues would be resolved by September.

PASYKI also protested the fact that the state refuses to disclose the details of the much-debated National Health Scheme that is about to be tabled to the House of Representatives.

The government doctors expressed their reservations over the NHS, saying that they want to know all its details so they can provide the state with their proposals.

Implementing a National Health Scheme was one of the requirements set by troika of lenders. Patsalis has pledged to fully implement it by July 2016.

If PASYKI decides to go through with the stoppage, they won’t be alone in their protest.

The Nurses Union (PASYNO) issued a statement on Thursday, announcing that on Tuesday they will be protesting the NHS outside the House of Representatives and then march to the Health Ministry. PASYNO demands that nurses retain their public sector status even under the proposed NHS, their pay scales are adjusted, that a moratorium on hiring and promoting is lifted, that their overtime pay is secured and assurances that newly hired nurses won’t be out of a job.

The mighty public sector workers union PASYDY also weighted in on the debate, sending an open letter to Patsalis to express their displeasure over the NHS. PASYDY is protesting the fact that under the new health sector status the government will be the sole overseer over the fund designed to cover medical expenses for the public.

The union is also opposing a proposal which calls for 4,000 public sector jobs to be gradually abolished and replaced with contract jobs.




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