On-call outpatient clinics launch next month

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Hospital outpatient clinics are to begin working longer hours, catering to patients on weekday afternoons and weekends from 9 July, the Health Ministry announced.

According to the ministry, plans to operate outpatient clinics outside normal hospital working hours will be implemented on the condition that differences between state hospitals’ management and health workers are resolved.

Outpatient clinics were to roll out their extended schedule last weekend, but plans were put on ice following pushback from state doctors and nurses.

Doctors and nurses said that they had issues with plans for outpatient clinics to work during weekends.

They argued that they should not be stationed at state hospitals, claiming this would put pressure on the infrastructure and ability to cater to patients.

The ministry’s announcement came after a Thursday meeting Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela had with state doctor unions and the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY).

“All stakeholders recognise that Public Hospitals are the backbone of the Health System and therefore the program regarding on-call clinics will begin with the infrastructure of OKYPY, as the largest provider of Health services in Cyprus,” said the ministry hinting they were close to an agreement.

Plans foresee that two on-duty clinics for adults and one for children will operate in Nicosia and Limassol, while one clinic for adults and one for children will be set up in the other districts.

Clinics will operate in the afternoons on weekdays until 7 pm, eight hours on Saturdays and four on Sundays. Further details will be sent out in the coming days.

The facilities will be staffed by state and private GPs and paediatricians registered with the General Healthcare System, including nurses and secretarial staff.

The HIO has informed doctors that they will be paid €60 per hour while on-duty, whereas nurses, will get €30 hourly.