Afternoon working hours for clinics in state hospitals went into effect Monday, as part of health reform in the Republic of Cyprus, but officials warned outpatient and surgery departments still had a backlog to go through due to the pandemic.
Cyprus’ State Health Services Organisation, the country’s largest health insurance provider also known by the Greek acronym OKYPY, launched an afternoon schedule in state hospitals on Monday, years after debate and one month after an agreement was signed with unions.
“A goal to have clinics in hospitals working in the afternoon has been achieved,” said SHSO spokesperson Charalambos Charilaou.
According to Charilaou, who spoke on state radio Monday morning, people can now book medical appointments online or by phone.
Priority for surgery departments and to a large extent outpatient services would focus on getting rid of a backlog that was created due to the coronavirus pandemic
Charilaou said outpatient departments would operate daily from 3:30pm to 6:30pm but scheduling would depend on the each hospital as well as specializations of doctors whose availability will vary within the workweek.
But the official also warned that the surgery departments and to a large extent outpatient services would focus their priority on getting rid of a backlog that was created due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“For now, priority has been given to patients who were on waiting lists and scheduling will be done for surgeries, and the lists are now being compiled, as well as other outpatient services,” Charilaou said.
Nurses’ union leaders, who had been holding back on scheduling afternoon surgeries due to payment issues, said it would be up to individual members to choose to work overtime if they agree with current compensation.
Both SHSO and union bosses are said to be close to finalizing further deals for nurses staffing afternoon operating rooms.
Syndicate proposals have been asking for higher individual payment while the organization raised compensation per operating room that can be split amongst nurses.