IN A two-hour meeting on Thursday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, along with the state health services (Okypy) and A&E department directors discussed solutions to the understaffing and scheduling problems being faced by public hospital A&Es.
Directors of A&E departments were presented with possible solutions and a timeline for the enhancement of human resources. They were also informed that 10 vacancies had been announced for A&E staff.
All parties agreed to reconvene in three weeks to evaluate the progress of the decisions reached on Thursday, and recognised the need for a continuation of the dialogue in view of finding permanent solutions and establishing the smooth operation of A&E departments.
On Wednesday, members of state doctors’ union Pasyki who work in A&E departments threatened a 24-hour strike on July 9 over understaffing.
It is unclear whether Thursday’s decisions will lead to a cancellation of the strike action.
The union’s leader Soteris Koumas said on Wednesday that at least 20 more doctors are needed for the state hospitals’ A&E departments.
He said 15 doctors left these departments, arguing that the Nicosia general hospital’s A&E is down to 11 doctors of the 19 it had, while in Limassol there are also 11 doctors after five walked out.
Koumas said that there were also problems with time schedules of doctors working in A&Es and called for dialogue on incentives for doctors working in these departments.