State health services (Okypy) need to get their act together or admit they are unable to live up to the responsibility assigned to them, state doctors’ union leader Sotiris Koumas charged on Monday.
Koumas’ outburst stemmed from severe staff shortages over the weekend at Polis Chrysochous hospital which culminated in no doctor on duty on Saturday morning, risking the life of a 73-year-old patient who suffered from an anaphylactic shock.
A nurse dispatched him to Paphos general hospital, but Koumas said this was no way for hospitals to operate saying doctors were overworked. Speaking to the state broadcaster CyBC on Monday morning, he said both Okypy and the ministry of health had been made aware that there would be a shortage of staff.
Four doctors are employed at the Polis Chrysochous hospital, one of whom has resigned, while another is on leave until the end of August. The remaining two, Koumas said had the support of the union not to go to work over the weekend as they had already worked exhausting hours.
Koumas said Okypy was aware there would be no doctors on staff, but the state health services have insisted they did not know.
The shift, which began at 7:30am had no doctor until one from Limassol was dispatched to the hospital at around midday.
“For some reason, Okypy didn’t receive the letters as usual. They either have to take the responsibilities assigned to them by the state or they should say they can’t do it,” said Koumas.
The state health services need to prove that they really care for people, patients and hospitals, Koumas added and stop using doctors to play politics.
Okypy spokesman Pambos Charilaou in statements on Saturday insisted they had only found out about the doctor shortage after being informed by members of the hospital staff during the day.
Okypy executive director for Limassol and Paphos Christos Nicolaou conceded on Monday that some internal procedures need to be improved. For instance, when a doctor resigns and they have absence of leave, they take those days off work.
This leaves a gap in the number of doctors available to work, but as the doctor is still registered in the system, new job calls for a replacement cannot be announced.