Doctors at Paphos A&E went on a three-hour strike on Friday morning calling for “humane working conditions” saying they are short staffed.

The department’s chief Neophyta Chrysanthou, who has been working at Paphos general hospital since 2000, said most night shifts don’t even have skeleton staff.

“If you’re worn out for 12 hours, which is inhumane, how will we be able to offer quality medical care to people?” Dr. Sidiropoulos told the Cyprus News Agency.

Doctors began their strike at 9am until noon, holding placards saying ‘Paphos A&E on the Ventilator’ and ‘We Strike for the Sustainability of Public Hospitals.’

The union has accused the state health services (Okypy) of making “false promises” about resolving the staffing issues at the A&E.

Chrysanthou called state health services Okypy incompetent over what she described a 10-month delay in actually formally opening up positions. The requests were made in February 2022 but the positions were only announced on December 9, she said.

She expects even further delays as the call for positions closes on January 3, 2023. Some applications are submitted online but for those delivered by post, there needs to be a 15-day delay in their arrival.

There will be another month to evaluate candidates, call for interviews and finally hire someone.

Chrysanthou believes this will happen in March or April.

On Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany, there will only be one doctor on staff between 12am-8am, she said.

Head of Pasyki union Sotiris Koumas said a letter from Okypy has taken them by surprise, as it outlines two doctors have been added to the A&E’s core staff.

Such statements are dangerous as it indicates Okypy does not recognise what core staff are.

He noted that the doctors in the department were once 12, while today there are nine, adding that even 12 is not enough.

If measures are not taken, doctors may escalate measures as there is “no other solution,” Koumas said.

Last month, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos described conditions at Paphos general hospital as “tragic, appalling and utterly shameful”.

Okypy hit back saying it refused to accept statements that conditions are horrible or that dangerous medicine is practiced there.

It conceded there are some “weaknesses” at the hospital, but that millions of euros will be set out in their budget to upgrade it.