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State doctors warn of measures if staffing at Polis is not resolved 

Patients at Paphos ER which is staffed with one doctor (Photo: CNA)

Paphos state doctors warned of measures on Sunday unless the government hires more physicians at Polis Chrysochous hospital instead of allocating more patients to Paphos hospital’s staff, which is also struggling to tackle the workload, they said.

The decision was the outcome of a meeting of state doctors union PASYKI , Paphos branch, which took place on Sunday ahead of a visit by Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis on Monday to the district’s two public hospitals, in Paphos and Polis Chrysochous.

Doctors said that the health ministry’s decision to ask general practitioners (GP) and cardiologists at Paphos hospital to also examine patients from Polis only exacerbated the understaffing problem at Paphos. In addition, they said, the decision did not take into consideration “that this would create serious quality and safety issues in the provision of healthcare”.

It also ignores the right of doctors to take leave in the summer in order to rest, an announcement said.

As a counter proposal, the doctors call for further staffing at Polis to cover round-the-clock needs, but also an upgrade of its technical infrastructure.

“In case the health ministry insists on the application of its own proposal or proceeds with extortion measures against our colleagues… dynamic measures will be taken,” the announcement said. PASYKI called on the ministry to engage in dialogue to find better solutions “which will not victimise the medical staff and which will ensure quality healthcare for Paphos patients”.

Earlier in the week, residents of Polis Chrysochous and of the wider area gathered outside the hospital to protest over the problems faced, which they said, were not new. The Polis hospital serves 25 communities. MPs who attended the protest had said that the inpatient wards at Polis had been closed down, as well as the laboratory and the radiology department, and that it does not have orthopaedic doctors, nor  gynaecologists.

They also said that there was staff shortage at Paphos hospital, and its doctors could not assume more responsibilities.

The health ministry’s permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki visited the two hospitals this month in a bid to find solutions. The Paphos hospital is not new to understaffing problems. Earlier in the month, as well as in June, the hospital’s gynaecology department was left without doctors. In June the only doctor on duty had collapsed due to overwork, while a few weeks ago both doctors were on sick leave.

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