State doctors are once again speaking out against government efforts that would create proper medical schools in state public hospitals, with union representatives warning to take action.
State doctors union Pasyki recently sent letters to the Health Ministry, according to daily Phileleftheros, to discuss problems as well as protest a bill they believe does not address their concerns or ensure friendly cooperation between state hospitals and medical schools.
The letter cited a specific incident at the hospital but no details were made known.
The debate of having medical schools inside state hospitals has been long and protracted, with state doctors arguing against academic doctors taking the lead and running the programme.
Students told the media they wanted to be taught by their professors in state hospitals and not have them as mere observers in the room
A previous agreement between the government and the University of Cyprus failed to set up a cooperative environment, where academic doctors would be teaching their students in live situations in state hospitals.
Pasyki argued that the agreement was problematic because it had not gone through Parliament, resulting in a strike at Nicosia’s Makarios Children’s Hospital where union state doctors protested the presence of the medical school’s dean who had gone there to visit his new office space.
State doctors have repeatedly criticised about specific provisions of the agreement which gave more responsibility to academic doctors in running their student programmes.
Pasyki also expressed discontent over the fact that salaries for some medical school physicians are much higher than those of union doctors.
The University had previously responded to that argument, saying some doctors go on to achieve success in their specific medical fields and often end up getting higher financial rewards.
Students also weighed in on the conversation last year when they embarked on medical practicum studies, telling the media they wanted to be taught by their professors in state hospitals and not have them as mere observers in the room.
The University of Cyprus says medical schools in public hospitals are very important and must follow standards around the world, where academics have full authority over the structure and operation of their programmes.
A new bill would allow academic doctors greater authority and flexibility, but political questions remain as to how union concerns and labour demands would be reconciled as legislation goes forward.
A recent proposal given to the unions by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou is said to have listed three kinds of medical school clinics where hospital and university doctors will cooperate, as well as a description of how medics would be paid for specific services either by the government or the university.