Cyprus Mail
FeaturedOpinionOur View

Our View: Tax payer cannot fund doctors milking the system

Nicosia General Hospital

The amount being paid to some public hospital doctors in overtime and allowances are beyond belief. The audit office’s annual report on Nicosia general hospital recorded a case of a doctor on an annual salary of €76,000 collecting overtime pay of €187,000, and of an assistant head of clinic on the same annual salary collecting €231,000 in allowances and overtime pay.

These were the most extreme examples of the irrational payment system at the hospitals cited by the report, but there was also a director of a clinic on €92,000, who took another €144,000 in allowances and overtime pay, and a lowly doctor on €52,000 with income from allowances reaching €157,000. We are not talking here about top medical consultants who can command high rewards because of their unequalled expertise but ordinary specialists taking advantage of union agreements to line their pockets.

It would be interesting to know if any doctors in private hospitals are paid overtime or are entitled to special allowances for working in the afternoons. In fact, the private hospitals that are part of Gesy are paid according to medical actions, regardless of when these are carried out. In the public hospitals doctors have the best of both worlds – not only are they well-paid, they also enjoy the benefits of public employees such as paid holidays, sick leave, annual pay increments, retirement bonus and big pensions.

And they can double or triple their income as in the above-mentioned cases by exploiting the host of allowances negotiated over the years by the unions. For example, a hospital doctor who is ‘on call’ will be paid anything between €230 and €850, depending on their specialty, even if they do not visit the hospital. Then there is the additional €1,850 per month paid to all specialist doctors at the hospitals – this was offered by the previous government after many were threatening to leave. The cost per annum of this scandalous waste of the taxpayer’s money at Nicosia General Hospital for 208 specialists was €4.7m in 2022. There was also incentivised pay of about €10,000 per doctor which was paid in 2022, according to the audit report, even though the targets set had not been met.

Public hospitals will never become self-funding when they are paying these obscene amounts to their doctors. This year, the government was to have stopped subsidising the public hospitals, but when the finance minister raised the matter some months ago, he was told this could not happen. An extension of a few years will be given but at this rate public hospitals are more likely to go bankrupt than become self-funding and autonomous. The taxpayer cannot fund this milking of the hospitals by doctors indefinitely.

Unless radical measures are taken soon, the operation of public hospitals will become so costly not even the government would be prepared to fund them.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Keravnos expects party meeting to resolve multiple pensions spat

Tom Cleaver

Fire brigade to hire 259 new recruits

Tom Cleaver

Christodoulides welcomes Euro-Turkish relations linked to Cyprob

Jonathan Shkurko

Immigration and economy: biggest concerns for Cypriots

Jean Christou

Our View: Auditor-general overstepping his position in opposing pension bills

CM: Our View

President and von der Leyen to go on joint visit to Lebanon to discuss migration issue

Source: Cyprus News Agency