Hospitals told to reduce urgent surgeries

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The health system is dangerously low on available beds in intensive care units, forcing authorities to reduce the number of surgeries requiring patients to stay in one following the procedure.

Cyprus’ Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) has instructed state, and private hospitals contracted with the General Health System to prioritise urgent cases, always leaving some beds available.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, HIO senior officer Monica Kyriacou said the dangerously low number of available beds could mean the system may not be able to cater to patients in urgent need.

“If we don’t take measures now, lives could be in danger,” said Kyriacou.

The measure to reduce operations is valid until April 24, with the possibility of an extension based on re-evaluating the situation.

The recommendations do not concern routine surgeries, as those patients don’t need to stay in the intensive care Unit.

Kyriacou said the pressure on the GHS has increased following a Ministry of Health decision to have urgent cases dealt with by GHS hospitals and not referred to hospitals abroad or non-contracted ones.

“There is more than one reason for the GHS being low on ICU beds,” added Kyriacou.

She said there had been an outbreak of respiratory viruses landing vulnerable people in hospitals, along with COVID.

“There has also been an increase in neurosurgical cases, while patients coming through the Accident and Emergency departments has also increased”.

As Kyriacou explained, there has been an increase in seriously injured people, mainly because of road accidents, in need of an ICU bed.

This is not the first time the lack of ICU beds has made headlines.

In February, the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) came under fire for its decision to temporarily move intubated patients to normal hospital wards.

OKYPY’s decision caused outrage among patients’ organisations.