By Bejay Browne
Three million euros has been approved by the government to construct a much-needed renal unit at Paphos General Hospital.
The decision was confirmed to the Cyprus Mail by Minister of Health, Constantinos Ioannou. He said that price tag was based on an estimate of preliminary costs.
However, the minister was cautious, noting: “The process for the project is still on the very early stages and for now there is no estimate regarding the starting and/or completion date of the project,” he said.
It is also not yet clear when the funds will be released.
The move has been welcomed by patients who are currently receiving life-saving dialysis treatment at Paphos general hospital’s current renal unit, in dire conditions.
Last month, they vowed to take dynamic action against what they say are cramped and dangerous conditions and bureaucracy and red tape holding up plans for a new space.
The move has also been welcomed by the Paphos Kidney Association which has donated dialysis machines and all sorts of other necessary equipment to the unit with money from fundraising and donations. Last year, the charity raised over €73,000.
Graham Brown, the chairman of the Paphos kidney association noted that a lawyer’s letter, on behalf of the patients, had already been sent to the government to try and speed up the action.
Brown has hereditary polycystic kidney disease and receives regular dialysis treatment at the unit to keep him alive. His treatments take around four to five hours three times a week.
“There are seventy-five dialysis patients in Paphos, and a number on the waiting list and only 14 beds so you can imagine how cramped things are. We welcome this news and hope that the construction of the new, larger unit can go ahead as soon as possible,” he said.
Dr Lakis Yioukkas, who runs the renal unit, (he is currently on sick leave, recovering from a broken leg), also welcomed the news noting that although the number of patients needing lifesaving dialysis has spiralled over the last decade, the facility had remained the same size.
“Ten years ago, we had 30 patients, now its 75. The new unit will be larger, at least twice the size and we hope it will get underway next year,” he said.
According to the ministry of health, the new unit will be constructed behind the main hospital building, next to the church of Saint Nicholas. It will built as an independent building that will be connected to the main Paphos general hospital building.
Ioannou said that the project is an important one for dialysis patients in the area of Paphos, as they will be able to receive their treatment in new and modern facilities with 20 new dialysis units, which will be serving approximately 80 patients per week.
“With the new unit at Paphos General Hospital, the ministry of health aims to upgrade and improve the quality of the healthcare services to patients, thus providing a comprehensive medical care, and ensuring the equal access of all citizens to qualitative health services,” he said.
On Monday, a new renal unit was inaugurated at Nicosia general hospital. It cost around €2.2m and is set to help up to 240 patients a day. The new unit has 40 haemodialysis stations fully equipped and prepared to operate effectively, accurately and safely, according to the ministry of health.