Tensions have reached boiling point over the planned construction works at Makarios children’s hospital, with paediatricians joining parents of children in the oncology department in voicing their strong opposition to plans by the State Health Services (Okypy).

In recent days, Okypy has faced intense criticism from various stakeholders, including parents, their representative associations, doctors working at Makarios hospital and the Cyprus Paediatric Society.

The main point of contention is that Okypy is prepared to sign a contract with a construction company to commence work without adequately informing these groups about the measures to prevent potential negative health consequences for individuals receiving treatment at the hospital, particularly children.

The concerns are especially acute for immunocompromised children undergoing therapy in the paediatric oncology clinic.

According to daily Politis, the associations have taken action by sending a letter to Okypy, urging the organisation to delay signing the contract until the procedures of the interdisciplinary committee are finalised.

This committee will be responsible for determining and overseeing the implementation of all necessary measures before and during the execution of works.

Okypy has responded by stating that any decisions made by the interdisciplinary committee will be translated into concrete measures, providing assurance that all essential steps will be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of both patients and hospital staff.

“The most important thing for Okypy is to safeguard the health and well-being of the patients, that is paramount,” the organisation’s spokesperson Charalambos Charilaou told the Cyprus Mail.

“Only when we get reassurances that the patients’ health will be properly safeguarded, will construction works be able to start.”

He also pointed out that when the tender was announced, Okypy included rigorous criteria in the tender documents that the construction company must adhere to guarantee the safety of patients, employees and individuals passing through the hospital building.

The spokesperson of the Alkinoos Artemiou Foundation, which cooperates with the hospital, Artemis Artemiou stress the complexity of the work at Makarios hospital, which involves the construction of a new three-storey building that is expected to take 28 months to complete based on the projected timelines.

He noted that they have been requesting information from Okypy about the measures that will be taken to protect the health of the children hospitalised there, but have not yet been informed of any specific measures.

The Cyprus Paediatric Society has also weighed in on the matter, highlighting that it is scientifically documented that any construction work in close proximity to clinics managing immunocompromised and very high-risk patients has been linked to an increase in cases of nosocomial fungal infections, particularly nosocomial aspergillosis, a potentially fatal infection with mortality rates surpassing 90 per cent.