PATIENTS requiring life-saving dialysis in Paphos are refusing to be treated at a private clinic fearing they will be put at risk following a decision by the ministry of health to contract out services, according to the Cyprus renal association.
A statement was issued by the association over concerns that the clinic is not yet ready to provide these services and also in the numbers that will require treatment. In addition, specially trained staff need to be brought in first, president of the association, Kyriakos Ioannou told the Cyprus Mail.
He added that the knee-jerk reaction by the ministry makes no sense, as a meeting for the relevant parties is due to take place on September 2, where the problems and possible solution facing dialysis patients and the renal units are to be discussed.
“The ministry signed an agreement with the private clinic in Paphos last week, despite the fact that we had raised concerns that it wasn’t good practice and a bad agreement, but they ignored us.”
He added that patients who have been complaining about a lack of space at the Paphos renal unit where beds are crammed into a space suitable for half the number, and staff are working double shifts to keep up with the demand, are already protesting that they will not use the clinic. They are concerned as to whether they will be patients of doctors at the public hospital or private clinic, as the latter will not bear any responsibility for them, he noted.
“The clinic said that they did not want to be responsible for the referred dialysis patients and they would only administer the treatment. If any problems are incurred during or after the process, they will not want to bear any responsibility, instead it will be that of doctors at the Paphos renal unit,” said Ioannou.
This bizarre agreement will lead to tension between the doctors and is bad practice, he noted, adding that the need to reduce the suffering of patients should not reduce the level of safety and treatment.
“Patients deserved safe and quality treatment and not to be put at risk and long term and effective plans need to be discussed and put in place or we will keep making the same mistakes.”
The doctor added that there is a huge problem in Cyprus with the ever-increasing number of patients that require dialysis treatment and out of the 47 countries that send data to Europe, Cyprus is the third worst.
“The mean number of dialysis patients starting treatment every year is 117, in Cyprus it is 240.”
Ioannou said this has resulted in more machines being crammed into small spaces as more treatments are needed and a large amount of patients being placed on one doctor’s shift.
“The time that a doctor has with each patient is now too short and this is not good. Patients are very aware that this affects their health and their life.”
He added that every town in Cyprus is facing severe problems, even in Nicosia, where a new renal unit opened just two years ago.
“It’s not just about giving more beds and machines, the quality of treatment is far worse than it used to be, Nicosia is a bad example of how not to do it,” he said.
He said that the private sector should be used, but rules should be implemented and a comprehensive plan needed for long term problem solving in dialysis to reduce the suffering of patients.
“We will wait to see what the intentions of the ministry of health are and decide what to do next.”