Cyprus Mail

Doctors to decide on ‘unnecessary’ strike

By Constantinos Psillides

STATE doctors will decide tomorrow whether they will go through with a scheduled strike on Monday, according to a statement issued by their union PASYKI.

After a meeting with Health minister Phillippos Patsalis yesterday, the PASYKI board decided to put the matter before a members’ general assembly at 6pm.

The strike, announced earlier this week, was decided after PASYKI accused the minister of misleading them when he promised in summer that their demands would be met.

In a statement following yesterday’s meeting, Patsalis noted that all issues have been resolved and that there were no misunderstandings between the two sides.

PASYKI had demanded assurances that no temporary doctor would be out of a job once the National Health Scheme (NHS) is implemented, that a moratorium on promotions would be lifted, that they would be paid for overtime in 2014 and that the ministry will put in a place a new overtime pay mechanism.

Patsalis pledged that no doctor will be left on the street and that he has already submitted a report to the Finance ministry explaining the necessity of lifting the promotions moratorium.

“As far as the overtime pay goes, the state has allocated a €800,000 fund and all that remains is to iron out the details. We consider this matter to be closed. The ministry has also pushed for the total overtime pay budget to be increased by €3m and it will be paid according to a plan devised by advisory firm Deloitte. This was done at the request of PASYKI and is also in agreement with the ministry’s wishes. The new overtime pay plan will be completed soon and brought to the ministry for approval,” Patsalis said.

The minister added that all of PASYKI’s demands were met and that a strike would be unnecessary. “Patients already have enough problems to deal with. Waiting lists at public hospitals has increased due to the financial crisis and it would be a shame if they were left without care over a busy day like Monday,” he said.

Patsalis stressed that PASYKI has no grounds to justify a strike since “I don’t believe there is much more that the ministry can do to show the doctors that it respects, recognises and is willing to solve their problems.”

He also addressed the allegation that doctors are being kept in the dark regarding the final form of the NHS.

“No legislation will be brought before the House of Representatives if all interested parties are not in agreement.

We will discuss the NHS with all unions and will strive to keep our schedule, however hard that is. That is why I call upon all interested parties to come forth with their proposals and remarks so we speed up the process.”

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

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