Famagusta kidney patients warned on Monday they will refuse blood transfusions to protest the lack of staff and modern equipment in the haematology ward.
“If our demands are not met by April 8, we will refuse our scheduled blood transfusions indefinitely,” their representative Giorgos Kezos told the Cyprus Mail.
Famagusta general hospital has ten beds allocated for the treatment of some 45 kidney patients in the district, who may need transfusions up to four times per week.
According to Kezos, there are another 15 patients who are expecting a spot to become available so they can start receiving blood transfusions.
“Basically, they are waiting for someone to die to take their place,” he said and estimated that some of those waiting for treatment have about a month left to live.
The situation has been exacerbated by the retirement of one of the two nephrologists employed at the hospital late last year.
According to the State Health Services Organisation spokesman Charalambos Charilaou negotiations are still underway with the doctor to determine whether he will continue working at the hospital.
“We need a second doctor and we also want the ward to operate 24/7 for emergency cases,” Kazou said.
To date any emergencies are referred to Larnaca general hospital, which is more than 50km away, meaning a 45-minute-drive.
“Then they have to wait for hours at the emergency room and the local patients are complaining about our presence there,” Kazou added.
Patients also complain over disruptions in their blood transfusion process because the equipment used is old and frequently needs repairs.
“We demand the same treatment as patients in other districts. We believe all the problems can be solved but Okypy refuses to spend money,” the kidney patient added.
In response, Charilaou said there are “many millions” allocated for the upgrading of the specific ward, including the equipment.
“The intention of the organisation is to upgrade the ward just like we did with other departments of the Famagusta hospital,” he said.
The problem according to the spokesman is that they are unable to find a doctor of the specific speciality to hire.
Cyprus has about 1,000 people suffering from kidney disease.