Polis Chrysochous municipality staged a demonstration on Saturday to protest the understaffing of the local police station and hospital following the death of a man earlier this week.

The 77-year-old pensioner died in a taxi on the way to Paphos hospital after he was referred there by medics at Polis as the local hospital could not provide an ambulance.

Polis Chrysochous mayor Yiotis Papachristofi said that the understaffing of both the local police station and hospital are issues that have affected the community for years, “resulting in the loss of lives”.

“The promises given to us over the years in previous meetings with ministers and officials have not been realised, which has forced us to call on the people of Polis to protest today”.

Papachristofi said that it was unacceptable for the local police station to only employ three officers per shift when it is expected to cover both Polis municipality and 30 other communities, as well as maintain holding cells.

“This has caused us major insecurity,” he said, adding that the community has addressed a letter to President Nicos Anastasiades in hopes something will change.

As regards the hospital, the mayor explained that the only cardiologist and other specialist doctors were moved to Paphos and Limassol hospitals to staff Covid wards, leaving Polis hospital with no inpatient care.

He added that the hospital has no functioning lab or radiology ward and is only staffed by one ambulance crew during the night, which has had a negative impact.

Papachristofi was referring to the recent death of fisherman Paraskevas Pavlou, which could have been prevented if the hospital was properly staffed.

Pavlou visited Polis Chrysochous hospital early in the evening with intense pains in the abdomen.

The doctor on duty referred him to the general hospital of Paphos which is a 40-to-60-minute drive away (35-43km) without providing an ambulance for his transport.

A post-mortem conducted on Thursday revealed he had suffered a saccular abdominal aortic aneurysm while in the taxi.

Following the death, locals complained that the Polis hospital was understaffed and ill-equipped, blaming the ministry for not responding to their repeated calls to resolve the matter.