Cyprus Mail

Patients are customers and should be shown respect

Standing in the queue at the local cottage hospital I was sixth in line, there are two booths, and in the good old days there would have been two queues of three, but one of the booths now sells stamps.  I understand the reason why the ‘stamping system’ was introduced, but did anyone carry out a ‘cost analysis’?  Just to keep the mind young and active at the booths at our hospital often interchange, so you’re never quite sure if you’re in the right queue.

To keep the stamp system running requires 1.25 people to cover for absenteeism, days off and sickness.  That is salary plus pension for someone just selling the occasional stamp at 50c each item.  In private industry if the cost, the overheads of a procedure makes an operation unprofitable it would be terminated.  After all there are other ways of recouping the outlay towards a prescription, by increasing the price of seeing a doctor to 5 or 10 euros for example.

Attending Paphos General last week I saw a queue of 10 people waiting outside the empty ‘stamp booth’.  Passing some minutes later the queue had grown to over 15, and as I walked past the clerk returned to his seat.  Several angry customers felt the need to explain their exasperation about waiting.  Not that it was all one way, with both sides shouting at each other.  The patient is the customer and should be entitled to some respect as should the government employee, so probably both were wrong?

In addition to the expense of wages and pensions there are additional expenditures, the cost of printing, distribution and stocking.  I accept many government operations run at a loss, but even so there are other ways to ‘round the circle’.

The stamp system also causes further problems.  Those who have been there will know the delay it causes to the blood sample line in the mornings and also the issue of prescriptions at the pharmacy.  It appears a knee jerk reaction, poorly thought out to a problem of over prescribing.  I would suggest it actually runs at a loss and costs more to implement than it recoups in costs.  So the question is has anyone done a cost analysis on its implementation?

Peter G Davis.  Chartered Member CIPD.  MICM (Grad), Drouseia

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