Patients fuming over worsening health service

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Patient organisations are fuming over a drop in the quality of health services as complaints regarding treatment received from hospitals and medical professionals pile up.

According to the Patient Observatory of the Cyprus Patient Associations Federation, complaints vary from inappropriate behaviour by General Practitioners to patients turned away by private hospitals because they could not pay upfront.

The observatory noted that complaints about GPs charging for visits when patients call for a renewal of a prescription top the list.

One man claimed he contacted his GP’s office twice to renew a repeat prescription for a chronic illness.

Both times, after his call, he received a message that a visit had been registered – there is a ceiling on the number of free GP visits per year according to age — but his prescription had not been renewed.

More serious complaints came from patients claiming hospitals and clinics turned them away.

The patients’ federation said an 88-year-old woman was refused treatment by a private hospital not contracted with the GHS.

According to the Patients Observatory, the woman had previously received treatment from a state hospital where the doctors judged she did not need surgery due to her age.

Her daughter then moved her to a hospital outside the GHS to ensure faster treatment.

Doctors at the second hospital advised surgery.

When her family asked about the cost, informing staff they could not pay the whole amount before the surgery, the head doctor turned them away.

The 88-year-old woman was discharged the next day.

Another complaint concerns a doctor at a GHS-contracted hospital submitted by the daughter of a 79-year-old woman who died shortly after surgery.

Her mother had to undergo a gynaecological operation. However, since the woman had also undergone heart surgery in the past, her case would have to receive special management.

The cardiologist who had treated her for years gave instructions on how doctors should proceed with the gynaecological surgery; however, as her daughter claims, the cardiologist at the hospital where the operation occurred did not accept these instructions.

Quoting the woman’s daughter, Philenews reported: “Two days later, my mother was discharged after the cardiologist ordered she be sent home, while her coagulation levels were lower than those recommended by her cardiologist.

“He didn’t give any instructions to my father, me, or brothers about what to do post-surgery.

“All he did was instruct the nurses to tell us to go to our cardiologist.

“Two weeks later, my mother’s blood coagulability skyrocketed, and she suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke”.

After the death of the 79-year-old, the cardiologist, whom the family is suing, attributed the discharge given to the patient to the fact that he would be going on a trip abroad.