A protest to highlight ongoing serious problems being faced at the renal unit at Paphos hospital and delays to the proposed construction of a new facility, took place at Paphos general hospital on Monday.
Dialysis patients complained of serious overcrowding at the existing unit, which they say is not only illegal, but grossly detrimental to their health.
“The situation is too dire now. There are health and safety risks, the beds are too many and too close to each other and we are catching things and germs from each other,” a haemodialysis patient, who wished to remain unnamed, told the Cyprus Mail.
Staff at the unit said that there are currently 91 patients receiving regular lifesaving haemodialysis treatment, with many others waiting. The facility is overcrowded and twelve or so beds, along with all of the necessary equipment, have been crammed into an area which should fit only five or six. Regular dialysis treatments take around five hours.
“Our immune levels are low because of the treatment we are having and this is putting us all at risk. The unit should be closed down immediately, as it is operating against EU health standards,” the patient added.
The existing infrastructure is inadequate and although a new renal unit which will consist of 25 beds has been given the green light, it is being held up by bureaucracy, according to patients.
“The government needs to speed things up. We have been told that it will only take three months to construct, but far longer to get it going because of the bureaucracy involved.”
Graham Brown, the chairman of the Paphos kidney association which has donated dialysis machines and all sorts of other necessary equipment to the unit with money from fund raising and donations, said that the new unit is urgently needed.
“There are more patients needing treatment and there are just not enough beds. The new unit is urgently needed,” he said.
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
Dialysis patients in Paphos are doubling every five years, mostly because of diabetes and hypertension.
Paphos’ Diko, MP, Charalambos Pitokopitis, told CNA the state was making a mockery of renal patients’ needs.
”The situation is now desperate and the immediate personal intervention of the president of the Republic is requested,” he said.