By Andria Kades
The health ministry has decided to postpone discussions on extending the retirement age of public service doctors to 68 as they need more time to conduct studies.
Speaking after a House finance and budget committee on Monday, health minister Philippos Patsalis said they needed to assess the consequences of extending the retirement age from its current 65 to 68.
“Whether these are economic in nature or have to do with the autonomy of public hospitals” everything needs to be looked at, Patsalis told the committee which accepted his request to postpone discussions.
“This matter is very important. We have to assess all the possible consequences that may arise,” he added.
The doctors branch of public service union PASYDY argued against the idea saying there were hundreds of doctors working as part-timers who have been waiting for seven years to have their positions deemed permanent.
This will also affect doctors waiting to get a promotion, that now have to wait another three years to move up their career ladder, according the Cyprus News Agency.
Doctors union PASYKI leader Maro Kondou said that as life expectancy was increasing, so too should the retirement age. “When a lot of doctors retire, they move on to work in the private sector which proves they are in good health and are able to work,” she said.
PASYDY was opposed to the view saying it impossible they could meet the tough demands of their job at that age.
Citing the USA and the UK, Patsalis said that other countries do not even have a retirement age. “Doctors are a unique profession as they start working on average at an older age and have a lot to offer after the age of 65.”
AKEL said that parties could not damage public health because of their own vested interests in helping certain doctors to maintain their large salaries for more years.
“If nothing else, they should consider the consequences to public health that need to be improved by hiring new young and qualified staff that will raise the standards of the offered services.”
PEO union shared the same view adding it was “unacceptable “.
EDEK said that extending the age of retirement was an issue that had come up after hospitals were faced with functionality problems when promotions – particularly to managerial positions – were frozen. As the problem was now being resolved, the necessity of the move should be re-evaluated, according to the CNA.