By Evie Andreou
STATE doctors have rejected Health minister Philippos Patsalis’ invitation for dialogue with their union PASYKI saying their future cannot be decided in a day.
“Discuss what? We saw him ten times. What have we achieved through dialogue so far? The minister should let us know. We have to be constructive and find solutions,” union chief Maro Kontou told the Cyprus News Agency.
The doctors, who held a two-hour stoppage on Monday protesting that their demands have yet to be met, gave Patsalis a week to be presented with the draft of the bills concerning the national health scheme (NHS) and autonomy of state hospitals.
Otherwise, they said, they will proceed with more drastic measures.
Kontou said that in six months’ time, doctors will start working under a new NHS and they have no idea what their status will be and how will they be paid.
She added that PASYKI will need ‘reasonable time’ to be able to review the draft bills.
“We don’t want to be given a day to read the bills which will be tabled in parliament the next day because we will not be able to evaluate them properly. We need legal advice and time to go through them to be able to make the right proposals,” Kontou said.
She added that Monday’s work stoppage proved to be a good thing because the union’s goal was to raise awareness that doctors want to have a say in the finalisation of the proposed bills.
The state doctors’ other demands include securing funds for overtime pay, clear guideline on overtime pay and working hours, the future of contract doctors under the NHS and the unfreezing of promotions.
Kontou said that the minister has only secured some funds for their overtime and that it still has to be voted by Parliament, while he has set a timeframe for the rest.
The health ministry announced on Tuesday that the bills, which are to be handed to parliament by the end of the month, will be given to PASYKI and all affected parties as soon as they are ready.