State doctors’ union Pasyki will go ahead with a scheduled 24-hour strike in hospital accident and emergency departments (A&Es) on Tuesday, it announced on Monday.
The strike will begin on Tuesday at 7am, running until Wednesday at 7am, the union said.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said there was no excuse for the strike.
“I cannot let slide that despite the fact that the measures we proposed and / or adopted to cover the immediate needs were deemed by Pasyki to be inadequate, they never submitted any other solutions that could minimise the problem,” the minister said.
He maintained that the only counterproposal Pasyki had put forth was that at least a skeleton staff should operate in the A&E during the strike, which was something that was adopted.
Despite a meeting with Ioannou on Saturday between heads of A&E and representatives of the state health services organisation Okypy, which is now in charge of state hospitals, the union announced on Monday morning that decisions stakeholders had taken to tackle the issue of understaffing were not enough and the strike would go ahead.
Although the remaining two state doctors’ unions Pasesi and Pasydy had been satisfied by the decisions, which included providing incentives to attract interest by public sector GPs who could, whenever they might wish to during their shift, deal with some cases to help decongest the A&Es, Pasesi said later in the day they support Pasyki.
Additionally, efforts would continue to fill vacant posts through the purchase of services by doctors, Ioannou had outlined.
Pasyki have said understaffing in A&E departments risks the health of both patients and staff and that the measures Okypy had put forth were inadequate to cover staff shortages. The decisions taken on Saturday were too little too late, the announcement said.
Saturday’s meeting also concluded with a decision that an ad hoc committee would be set up which would include experts, A&E department heads and all those immediately effected to examine the problems and submit recommendations on an overhaul of the A&E departments.
“Unfortunately there are many layers to the problems, it is affected by and affects other hospital departments and cannot be resolved through magic. Some of the decisions practically require more time to be implemented. I personally as well as Okypy remain open to dialogue and seek cooperation with all affected parties,” the minister added.
Ioannou called on citizens to seek the advice of their GP and only go to A&E in really urgent situations.