One mil­lion pa­tients seen by only 300 doc­tors in 2017

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

ONE mil­lion pa­tients were seen by just 300 doc­tors in 2017, it has been claimed, lead­ing to fears that pub­lic health ser­vices could “grind to a halt”. The star­tling fig­ure was re­leased by the head of the Cyprus Turk­ish Doc­tors’ Union (Tıp-İş) dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day to mark World Health Week and the 70th an­niver­sary of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO). Ah­met Varış used new sta­tis­tics, cov­er­ing state hos­pi­tals and poly­clin­ics and local health cen­tres con­nected to them, to warn the gov­ern­ment that ser­vices would reach “break­ing point” un­less ex­tra staff and re­sources were pro­vided.

He said doc­tors were rush­ing through ex­am­i­na­tions in just “five to six min­utes” com­pared to what he said was the WHO rec­om­men­da­tion of at least 20 min­utes. “How can we ex­plain that a mil­lion pa­tients were ex­am­ined at pub­lic health cen­tres dur­ing last year, when we have a pop­u­la­tion of 300,000?” he said. Pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails from the fig­ures, Dr Varış said al­most 220,000 “reg­is­tered” pa­tients had been seen by 149 doc­tors at Le­fkoşa State Hospi­tal last year, who per­formed just over 6,000 op­er­a­tions. Another 91,500 were treated in the ac­ci­dent and emer­gency depart­ment. Around 84,000 reg­is­tered pa­tients vis­ited Gaz­i­mağusa State Hospi­tal, where there were 47 doc­tors, while about 80,000 people were ad­mit­ted to A&E. Some 1,700 op­er­a­tions were car­ried out the hospi­tal.

Pa­tient num­bers were sim­i­lar for Girne’s Akçiçek Hospi­tal, which has 24 doc­tors and where 986 op­er­a­tions were per­formed.

The re­spec­tive pa­tient fig­ures for the Cen­giz Topel Hospi­tal, which has only nine doc­tors, were roughly 38,000 and 47,000. The num­ber of op­er­a­tions was 223. Seven doc­tors car­ried out nearly 20,000 ex­am­i­na­tions at the Barış Ruh Psy­chi­atric Hospi­tal.

Dr Varış said the num­ber of pa­tients seen at the emer­gency ward at Cen­giz Topel Hospi­tal could be higher as those ad­mit­ted af­ter 11pm were not recorded be­cause there was no reg­is­trar present at that time. “It is against con­tem­po­rary health sys­tems to ex­am­ine pa­tients for five to six min­utes each,” he com­mented. “We ad­vise that such ex­am­i­na­tions are done in ac­cor­dance with the [WHO] cri­te­ria.

“I can­not also help but ques­tion as to how we can main­tain pub­lic health and avoid the de­vel­op­ment of ill­nesses and dis­eases in a coun­try where the gov­ern­ment fails to ful­fil their duty of in­spec­tion.”

Dr Varış said that health ser­vices were com­ing un­der pres­sure be­cause of a “con­stantly in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion” and the res­ig­na­tions of doc­tors from spe­cial­ist de­part­ments. Re­spond­ing to the com­plaints, Health Min­is­ter Filiz Besim con­firmed the ap­par­ent “ex­cess” of pa­tients be­ing seen at hos­pi­tals, say­ing it was a “long­stand­ing prob­lem”.

She re­jected claims that there were no reg­is­trars at some hos­pi­tals af­ter 11pm, but said non-ur­gent cases at emer­gency de­part­ments were be­ing re­ferred to poly­clin­ics — now open un­til 2.30pm — to avoid un­nec­es­sary night-time work.

Dr Besim said a new triage sys­tem would be in ef­fect in A&E units from June 1, to de­ter­mine who could safely be seen at a rou­tine clinic.

“The sit­u­a­tion of a pa­tient with a cough who goes to Emer­gency is ob­vi­ously of a less pri­or­ity than some­one who is hav­ing a heart at­tack,” she com­mented.

Health Min­is­ter Filiz Besim

Cyprus Turk­ish Doc­tors’ Union head Ah­met Varış

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