Conditions at Paphos general hospital are “tragic, appalling and utterly shameful”, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos said on Monday.

Citing examples he had witnessed himself, Phedonos said that both the management as well as the physical state of the buildings were outrageously poor.

“When it rains, the cleaners are running about putting out ten to fifteen buckets to collect leaks, the whole place has rubbish and is in disarray,” the mayor said speaking to CyBC radio.

Even more serious than the physical shortcomings of a building which in its 32 years of existence has never seen a renovation, the mayor said, is the lack of hospital beds.

The mayor highlighted the pediatric unit in particular, saying that only four beds were now available, after beds had to be ceded to the maternity ward.

“Parents who bring their children in, with potentially serious conditions, are being told they are ‘lucky’ if a bed is found for the child in Limassol, or even Larnaca,” the mayor said. He added that it is only a matter of time before a tragedy happens when a parent decides not to drive this unreasonable distance if the child does not appear critically unwell.

The mayor cited another example of overhearing a frustrated doctor trying desperately to find a bed for an intubated patient, who then had to be taken by ambulance to Limassol general hospital.

“I heard the doctor say: ‘Limassol did us a favour, they’re taking him,’” the mayor said. “What kind of language is this?!”

Admitting that the issue in not directly under his remit, Phaedonas said he felt compelled to speak out as he receives complaints from residents on the matter daily.

He also took a swipe at private doctors. “Certain private doctors, members of Gesy, are making a killing out of the situation, as the visibly poor conditions at Paphos hospital are the best negative advertisement for state care.”

“Even though it is not [private clinics’] fault, the conditions are favourable for them and pave the way for private entities to come in and take over,” the mayor added.

He laid the ultimate blame squarely on Gesy directors: it does not matter “whether it was through negligence or incompetence,” he said, the current situation at Paphos hospital is as it is.

A press conference will be called in the following days, the mayor said, and a possible citizens protest will be held outside the entrance to draw attention to the unacceptable situation, while he also called on patients and staff to “conscientiously publicise footage” of hospital conditions.