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Cyprus

Medical association calls for cooperation to curb abuse of sickies

By George Psyllides

The medical association (PIS) on Tuesday urged authorities to co-operate to stamp out sickies in the public sector, asking for suspicious cases to be referred to them for investigation.

The association’s announcement came four days after Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos described the phenomenon of pulling sickies as a scourge affecting the entire civil service.

PIS urged Hasikos and other senior officials in the public sector to report any suspicious cases to them.

It highlighted the lack of co-operation from government departments.

It said that when it asked for information so that it could investigate a complaint at a government department, the officials refused citing personal data issues.

“When we suggested covering the names so that we could study the facts of each case without violating their personal data, they told us they would look into it,” PIS said. “We haven’t had a response since.”

PIS reiterated the need for co-operation, “no matter how difficult it may be” to substantiate a few cases at least and stamp out the provocative phenomenon.

The association said it briefed its members frequently, urging them to be strict in observing the code of conduct which calls on doctors to be pillars and pioneers of medical ethics.

Last week, Hasikos suggested drastic measures must be put in place to stop those workers who cited illness to be continuously absent from work.

One way of punishing them is transfers far away from home, the minister said.

He also suggested prosecuting the doctors who issued the fake certificates.

Hasikos said people pulling sickies exacerbated the staff shortages in some departments.

Going after those who help them would prevent them from leaving their job, the minister said.

 

 

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