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State doctors seek to be included in decision making

State doctors union PASYKI want to be included in the dialogue concerning employment issues between the ministry and hospital staff committee, its chairman Sotiris Koumas said on Tuesday.

In a statement, PASYKI welcomed Monday’s announcement by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades unfreezing 185 nursing positions at state hospitals, as well as the introduction of employment contracts of at least six months, replacing much shorter contracts that had been on offer so far. It added that they would like to see the unfreezing of a number of positions for doctors as well.

“At the same time however, we feel the need to criticise our non-participation in the announced dialogue,” the announcement said. It said PASYKI represents the majority of state doctors and it is “unthinkable for decisions to be announced that concern us without us having a say”.

The union said they expect a detailed briefing from the finance ministry and the joint staff committee, made up of officials from the government and civil servants union PASYDY.

The announcement came after Georgiades said PASYDY would be involved in a dialogue concerning the transition into rendering state hospitals financially and administratively autonomous, and any outstanding issues.

Koumas told the Cyprus Mail that PASYKI does not have a representative on the joint staff committee despite that it has repeatedly asked to be included.

Commenting on hospital autonomy, which is the first step toward the implementation of the National Health Scheme (NHS), Koumas said that hospital autonomy “has a very wide meaning”.

“Nobody knows its provisions yet,” Koumas said. “We as PASYKI were the first to propose the state hospitals’ administrative and financial autonomy, so yes we are in favour of such a move, however, we need to know what the employment terms will be. Unless we see the actual plan, we cannot say anything concrete”.

He added that to achieve hospital autonomy needs a lot of planning. “If hospital autonomy fails, we will be left without state hospitals,” Koumas said.

He added that the problems the state hospitals face must be urgently addressed before autonomy is implemented. Among the problems, he said, are understaffing, overcrowding of hospitals and lack of medical equipment.

“How are we going to get state hospitals to be competitive against private ones if we don’t address these issues,” he asked.

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