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Hospital doctors call for promised improvements

State doctors have given the health minister until Friday to explain why the promised hiring of extra staff and pay increments have not been seen before they consider possible strike measures.

On Tuesday their union Pasyki asked for Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis’ response in writing as to why the measures agreed with them and announced in December have not yet kicked in.

If the response is unsatisfactory, the union said they would discuss reaction measures.

Pamboridis announced last month that state doctors would get a €3m boost for pay rises and allowances aiming to increase productivity in public hospitals and help meet staffing needs. The minister had said that 50 doctors would be hired in 2017 to reinforce the medical staff at state hospitals. The incentives also include a pay increment to all state doctors and a monthly €1,000 administrative allowance to the heads of hospital departments.

Head of Pasyki Sotiris Koumas told state broadcaster CyBC radio on Tuesday that these measures, despite being announced on December 1, have not yet been adopted.

He said the ministry has not informed the union why this was the case or how they are planning on proceeding.

Pasyki has been sounding the alarm since last year on the bad conditions state doctors work in at public hospitals, which in tandem with low salaries makes many walk away, leading to serious understaffing problems.

Meanwhile, Paphos heart patients made a cry for help on Tuesday as they said that many waiting for catheterisation and other heart surgeries saw their operation dates cancelled twice as there are not enough hospital beds.

Head of the Paphos heart patients’ association Savvas Georgiou said waiting lists are growing again and that outpatients wait up to four months for catheterisation.

Director of Paphos hospital Spyros Georgiou told the Cyprus News Agency that Paphos patients are being referred to Limassol hospital for angiograms and angioplasty as the Paphos hospital does not offer these procedures, and that over the last few days the Limassol hospital had no available beds.

Despite this, Georgiou said, the Paphos hospital ensures that these incidents are treated as fast as possible at the Limassol hospital. He added that they have already proposed to the health ministry to consider buying the services of the private sector to alleviate the problem.

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