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Doctors agree to help with A&E fast-track system

Minister of Health Giorgos Pamborides


State doctors on Wednesday responded positively to Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis’ call to discuss the operation of the new ‘fast-track’ system at the Nicosia hospital’s emergency department (A&E) which is being reassessed after it failed to deliver due to poor planning.

Despite his earlier statements that he would not include the state doctors’ union Pasyki in the reappraisal of the new measure, Pamboridis had a change of heart on Wednesday and extended an invitation to Pasyki to join in.

Pamboridis said on Tuesday that the newly launched ‘fast-track practice’ at the hospital’s A&E and aimed at providing swifter service to patients was going back to the drawing board as it was poorly planned, and that trade unions would have no say in the matter. The system is aimed at patients presenting with milder ailments who visit the hospital’s A&E, and who usually end up waiting for hours before receiving medical attention as staff focus on the more urgent cases.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC on a show where Pasyki head Soteris Koumas was a guest, Pamboridis said that state doctors complain that he doesn’t invite them to dialogue.

“I would gladly discuss this with you,” Pamboridis said, urging Koumas to say that they would respond positively to his invitation. Koumas then agreed he would.

Koumas drew the ire of Pamboridis on Tuesday after stating that the new system failed and would continue to do so as long as doctors were not asked for their opinion as to how it should operate. The minister replied that it was not for the union to decide how to run the new system.

The new pilot system kicked in on Monday afternoon but was terminated some two hours later after failing to deliver, because instead of bringing in more staff to man it, the ministry took staff from the A&E.

This was reportedly because one doctor refused to be transferred to the A&E so that they could spare a physician to man the fast-track practice.

Pamboridis spoke of doctors who prefer working in rural areas with very few patients and refuse to be transferred to A&Es. This led to another spat with Koumas, who said that doctors can’t be forced to be transferred to another post, with Pamboridis urging him to read again the public service regulations.

The minister raised the same issue on Wednesday. He said that the new measure also aims at easing the workload of doctors working at A&Es and that it was not acceptable for some to do all the hard work and for some to be “more royal than the king and have a good time in other posts”.

Pamboridis also said that his ministry would increase the number of doctors in A&Es. Speaking to another media outlet, he said that doctors working at A&Es would receive an extra €500 a month as a reward for their hard work.

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