Hospital outpatient clinics to launch afternoon hours

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Hospital outpatient departments will be operating in the afternoons after nurses’ unions agreed with the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) about overtime pay.

Nurses joined doctors in greenlighting a compensation proposal tabled by OKYPY, essentially settling a row with state hospital health workers over pay.

Some hospital outpatient clinics will remain open until 7 pm instead of closing at 3 pm, with the majority of scheduled surgeries to be slotted in between 3 pm and 7 pm.

Nurses’ unions and OKYPY have come to a preliminary agreement on how they will be paid for the services offered outside their normal working hours.

OKYPY accepted that nurses, like doctors, will voluntarily work in shifts according to a schedule prepared for outpatient departments and surgeries.

Nurses had tabled their concerns regarding staff shortages in state hospitals, with an OKYPY study showing that afternoon operation of outpatient departments and operating rooms would not add strain.

The survey foresees that understaffing, observed in some departments, will be addressed with personnel reshuffling.

OKYPY seems to have agreed with nurses regarding their compensation, with reports saying that they will be paid overtime for services offered outside their normal work hours, according to their seniority.

A team of three nurses needed for each operation will share 8% of the payment that OKYPY will receive from the state Health Insurance Organisation.

OKYPY has reportedly guaranteed nurses will be receiving a minimum of €50 for each procedure.

Reportedly a number of nurses are not on board with the compensation scheme, but as afternoon shifts will be carried out by nurses volunteering for the task, unions are not expected to object.

Not all outpatient clinics are to remain open during the afternoons.

Overtime will be voluntarily and concern the specialities for which there is a need to extend hours to serve patients, doing away with long waiting lists.

Afternoon outpatient clinics will be coming online either in July or September, with nurses, however, not willing to take shifts in August, when most health workers take leave.