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Situation in hospitals ‘chaotic’

State pathologists and hospital officials were grilled during the parliamentary health meeting yesterday (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

By Andria Kades

THE situation at state hospitals was described as ‘chaotic’ and not adhering to rules with tense relations between state pathologists, the House health committee heard on Thursday as it was discussing the case of a dead infant found in the morgue rubbish.

Recent events had no place in the health sector or in the country, committee chairman Costas Constantinou said, adding that unfortunately “the practises and behaviour between state pathologists, their interpersonal relationships are not the best.”

His comments seemed to weigh in on reports that this was an act of revenge caused by a rift between state pathologists and their anger that a London-based state pathologist was present at the post mortem following the family’s request.

This was not the first time the matter had been discussed, he said, and had asked the health ministry to clarify what protocols were in place.

“Everything that goes on concerns not only the Nicosia morgue but other hospitals too because based on what health ministry employees have said, there are no structured procedures that have to do with management,” Constantinou said.

AKEL MP Stella Mishaouli branded it unacceptable there was no management structure in the morgue department nor quality controls or protocols to be adhered to.

Expressing her disappointment over the health ministry employees’ contribution to the committee, she said all they heard were promises for the future. “There will be protocols. There will be checks and so forth. We will stand by the side of the health minister.”

Nevertheless, Mishaouli praised Health minister George Pamborides’ conduct which was “swift and immediate” but stressed there was not a chance any cases would remain hidden but everyone responsible would be named and put to justice.

“The health sector is suffering,” she added, passing the blame on the government’s tough austerity and reducing the budget, which she also branded as unacceptable behaviour “that has to end so that scandals, negligence or patient complaints, can stop.”

EDEK MP Roula Mavronicola concluded that “what emerged from the committee discussions was that in the state pathology department, there is total chaos.”

“The admission alone, from the health ministry and the medical services that until now protocols are not being followed and in a meeting next week they will decide protocols and practices, says a lot.”

Several matters are still not clarified, she said, including overtime and who can and cannot perform advanced forensic examinations.

Mavronicola also said the committee members are still waiting for answers from the ministry about what conditions of employment assistant state pathologists work under as she has heard that in Limassol and Paphos they are not paid overtime and so “refuse to do autopsies”, therefore leaving only Nicosia and Larnaca performing autopsies on weekends.


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