The inpatient wing at Polis Chrysochous hospital will reopen on January 15, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said on Tuesday.

He was speaking after a meeting in Polis with head of the state health services organisation (Okypy) Marios Panayides, executive director for Limassol and Paphos hospitals Christos Nicolaou and Polis Chrysochous mayor Yiotis Papachristophi, as well as community leaders of the surrounding areas.

Panayides said the ER department would be strengthened, as would the X-ray, lab and cardiology departments. A second ambulance would also be manned however it has not yet been fully staffed, he added.

According to Hadjipantela, authorities would examine whether it would be possible to set up a specialised centre, like the one in Troodos hospital.

He also said he hoped that by the time the wing would open on January 15, there would be other news to announce too, though he did not hint at what that may be.

Reopening the ward has been a long-standing request from the mayor and citizens as without it, patients are forced to drive all the way to Paphos – an hour’s drive for some of the area’s remoter residents, many of them elderly, who up until recently were served by the Polis hospital.

The operation of the Polis inpatient ward was suspended two years ago following a decision of the ministry of health and Okypy to facilitate the transfer of nursing staff and doctors from the hospital to Covid-19 wards at the Paphos and Limassol general hospitals.

Residents had been set to protest last week to demand the reopening of the ward, but postponed the measure in light of the minister’s visit.

In September, Okypy had tried to find a compromise by offering a day care ward counter to the demands of residents.