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Coronavirus: Patients say cancellation of operations will lead to ‘collateral damage’

operation

The health ministry should not have postponed non-urgent operations in state and private hospitals as this will endanger non-Covid patients, head of the patients’ association said on Monday.

Marios Kouloumas’ statements came after the health ministry announced on Sunday that non-emergency surgeries will be postponed as of Thursday, about two months after they resumed on September 8.

Non-urgent surgeries were postponed in mid-July to clear more beds for Covid patients after daily cases rose to over 1,000, threatening to overrun the healthcare system.

The decision includes state and private hospitals, including those not registered in the national health scheme (Gesy), health ministry spokesman Constantinos Athanasiou told the Cyprus Mail.

He added that health facilities which do not abide by this decree and carry out surgeries that are not considered urgent will not be reimbursed by the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), the state body tasked with overseeing Gesy.

“This is very concerning because two years later, chronic patients and those suffering from issues unrelated to Covid keep paying the price of the pandemic,” said Kouloumas.

The head of the association said this will bring consequences, including some fatalities.

The postponement of surgeries should have been the “last resort”, and should not have been implemented at this stage, he added.

“We did not have an official explanation on why this decision was taken, even though we understand there is a surge in cases,” Kouloumas said, adding the association is preparing a letter with their suggestions for the health ministry.

On Sunday the total number of people being treated in hospital for coronavirus was 114, of which 43 were in a serious condition.

Earlier in September, the association proposed the health ministry prepare before epidemiological indicators worsen by taking advantage of all the scientific staff, infrastructure and equipment available in the republic.

This included private hospitals not registered in Gesy, Kouloumas explained.

He said that vaccinations are important to protect from the virus, but other measures are also needed such as the proper use of face masks and social distancing.

 

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