Doctors at Paphos hospital’s accident and emergency department continued their rolling strike on Friday and vowed to do so until understaffing problems are resolved.
The daily strikes, which got underway on Thursday, will see only a skeleton staff on hand from 12.30pm to 2.30pm to treat emergencies, hospital director Spyros Georgiou told the Cyprus Mail.
He said that staff have said they will strike every day. “The emergency dept has 12 doctors, one is on maternity leave and they would like one doctor or possibly two to join the staff,” Georgiou said.
He added that this would help to alleviate the strain placed on current staff who are overworked.
“They are very busy, the doctors are all from Paphos and ideally, we would like another one from Paphos, this is being discussed.”
However, he noted that this is no easy task as it is difficult to find a doctor willing to work in the emergency department.
On Friday, during strike hours, patients sat patiently in the accident and emergency department waiting to be seen by the few staff on duty.
One female patient said: “They all work so hard and if they need more doctors, then the state must provide them.”
Georgiou noted that so far, no patients have complained to the hospital and that A&E remains on standby, giving emergency treatment during strike hours.
The hospital head noted that since the facility was built in 1990 the population of Paphos has mushroomed to around double and that it is extremely busy at weekends as well as with the thousands of tourists who visit A&E during the summer in particular .
The head of the emergency department declined to make a comment as she said they didn’t want to jeopardise ongoing negotiations between their union and the ministry of health.
Georgiou also vehemently denied accusations that the strike in Paphos was orchestrated by state doctors’ union Pasyki as they weren’t consulted on a new measure that sees doctors, who have volunteered, work overtime during busy times at Nicosia A&E department.
“This strike is not connected in any way with Nicosia, our emergency department is autonomous from Nicosia and the department there.”
Georgiou added that the ministry of health has shown support for Paphos General Hospital recently, as they have provided much needed new doctors in various departments.
“We now have five new doctors working in ENT, orthopedic, cardiology, anesthesiology and X ray. The ministry has helped us,” he said.
Health Minsiter Constantinos Ioannou has said that the government will examine the request for more doctors even though there has never been 13 doctors serving at Paphos accident and emergency department.
“We hope that they will resolve this, the staff could have gone on strike at any time, last month or next month for example, this is an ongoing problem, hopefully it will be negotiated, and then concluded,” said Georgiou.