The health ministry is going to involve the private sector in a bid to remedy the situation expected to arise due to the decision of PASYNO nurses to go on indefinite strike from March 15, permanent undersecretary Christina Yannaki said on Wednesday.
Speaking on state radio Yannaki said that the government will tap the private sector to make sure public health is not compromised in the slightest.
“The health ministry has prepared a strategic plan to offer health services [during the strike],” she said.
“There has been a mapping out the current situation, all procedures required to be adopted by all state hospitals have been drafted, and any incidents that cannot be addressed by the emergency rooms – due to the fewer available nursing staff – will be referred to the private sector.”
Emergency incidents will be admitted at state hospitals, she noted, where security staff will be available, but other incidents, which were clearly laid out in a meeting, will be referred to private hospitals.
“There will be coordination by the health ministry with teams at each hospital, which we will be in constant contact with, and it will all be supervised by myself,” Yiannaki explained.
“The plan is already in place – I know the teams I have assigned at each hospital, and there will be two dedicated telephone lines connecting directly to my office.”
Yiannaki added that the amount of money which is going to be spent on this has not been estimated yet, but “this, too, will be solved”.
She stressed that by Tuesday morning, the health ministry will coordinate all efforts to avert risk to public health.
On Monday, the overwhelming majority of PASYNO nurses’ union members voted in favour of going on indefinite strike to reinforce their demand for degree-holding nurses to be placed in higher pay scales.
“I want to make clear that the state cannot function under threat, nor can it allow the patients to be taken hostage,” Yiannaki said.
“Our primary concern is to help the patients.”