Cyprus Mail
Guest ColumnistOpinion

Expat View: Enduring the queues at Paphos hospital

Patients waiting in the orthopaedic section of Paphos hospital on Friday

By Clive Turner

It is 12.15 pm at the orthopaedic clinic at the general hospital in Paphos.  There are over 60 people waiting to see the distinguished, respected, and highly experienced consultant there.  The problem is all were given the same appointment period.

The current furore over the hospital debacle engulfing the medical world in Cyprus is typified by this example of ludicrous administration.  I was number 51 and never saw the great man even after a two-hour wait.  He had gone. I eventually had to return another day, and then again I waited several hours.

But since I had plenty of time during that fIrst visit I thought I might see if I could find the hospital’s medical director.  He proved charming and apologised for the situation – explaining there was a shortage of doctors, but had no explanation for the bizarre practice of loading a given department with a phalanx of patients all needing to wait several hours.

Cyprus has some very fine doctors and nurses, who labour under conditions which would exhaust the most tolerant of medical practitioners.

When I did finally see the doctor for whom three months earlier I had accepted what I fondly and naively thought would be a fixed appointment, I asked the consultant how he coped with the pressure?  He pulled me towards him and whispered, “I don’t know.  I cannot go on. I have to get out. . .”   How very sad.

When queuing at the hospital’s registration desk where you are awarded a patient number for your medical requirement, there is always a very long wait, and I take a book which I often devour while standing in a seemingly endless line. To suggest there might be a separate reception window for those merely seeking a repeat prescription, or perhaps another separate reception window for those with babies, or toddlers, would seem a rather obvious possible solution for the daily press of people wilting with frustration and boredom.

Are you listening Paphos hospital medical director?

There is talk of the island getting a National Health Service. But to employ a currently overused phrase, I think one might sensibly suggest “not any time soon”.

But obviously we all wish the government well, although from where it will find the funds to pay for all the newly contracted doctors and nurses remains to be seen.  And, quite from where are all these more than welcome medics coming?  I write from a family background of medical practice and with a brother-in-law who worked in the UK’s National Health Service at various senior levels for 50 years.

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