By George Psyllides
STATE doctors are leaving the sector, a senior official said on Thursday, creating serious problems to the operation of public health facilities.
The head of the health ministry’s medical services said the flight to the private sector was nothing new.
“There is a flight which creates serious problems in the operation of public hospitals,” Petros Matsas said.
He said there are recruitment restrictions, even in cases of pregnancy or long term sick leave.
“So, we cannot fill the gaps in our service immediately,” he said. “And problems arise, like an increase in waiting time and carrying out surgical procedures.”
Matsas said his service could not resolve recruitment issues.
Reports said a third of staff in public hospitals where temps and contact workers.
Matsas said it was the policy of the health and finance ministries but there was nothing his service could do apart from apply pressure.
“We think it is indeed a problem, rightly raised by our colleagues, and it is a disadvantage for recruitment and acceptance of hiring conditions in the public sector,” he said.
Matsas said colleagues were leaving the state sector because conditions in private health facilities were better.
“One surgical procedure there can cover the monthly salary, that is why they are leaving,” he said. “We can’t force them to stay.”
The health ministry official said they wanted to replace those leaving but it was the finance ministry that had the final say on positions.