By Bejay Browne
WORSENING problems concerning the operation of Polis Chrysochous hospital have spurred the mayor to again appeal to the Minister of health to step in and avoid dynamic action from being taken.
Angelos Georgiou made his appeal in a letter sent to the minister Philippos Patsalis, which underlines a desperate lack of staff and necessary equipment. He noted that a similar correspondence sent to the deputy director of medical services, Eliza Constantinou, on December 30, which was communicated to the minister, has yet to bring a response.
“We haven’t received an answer, nor was any action to address the problems raised in the letter. Instead, we see the situation is constantly deteriorating and becoming intolerable,” noted Georgiou.
The mayor said that a recent visit to the hospital showed the desperate need for the facilities’ upgrading and improvement. He suggested that at least two additional GPs are required, as there used to be seven staff, but now only four doctors remain. He noted that when they take leave, three doctors are expected to cover the 24 hour emergency department, as well as the outpatient facility.
Georgiou also pointed out that a massive staff shortage could put people’s health at risk and that current staff are worn out by the heavy workload.
“It is unacceptable and unethical that a doctor is expected to examine 80 -100 patients a day, and in some instances even more, and is permanently on call,” he said.
The mayor added that apart from unacceptable working conditions, it is often impossible for a thorough medical examination to be undertaken, due to the limited time that the doctor on duty can devote to each patient. This may jeopardise the health of patients, he said.
The hospital covers the wider area of Polis which has a population of around 12,000-13,000 permanent residents which almost doubles during the summer months. He added that as there aren’t any other medical facilities in the region, that the problem becomes even more acute and places patient’s health at greater risk.
He said that an inadequate road network means patients need a travelling time of at least 50-60 minutes to reach Paphos hospital.
Georgiou said that repeated requests for help hadn’t brought results. He said that staff are overworked and underpaid. He noted that the main issues which need to be immediately addressed are the need to replace doctors who have left, an increase in the days where specialist doctors are at the hospital, hiring additional ambulance drivers and replacing necessary equipment such as scanners and X ray machines. He said empty promises meant that the facility had effectively been downgraded and not improved.
“We request your immediate intervention to resolve these problems and avoid unnecessary actions. If not, immediate and dynamic action will be taken by the local authorities and residents of the area,” he warned.