The meeting of the Health Committee was held in high tones, where the problems expected to arise due to the closure of the geriatric clinic in Larnaca were discussed. In fact, the tension between AKEL MP Nikos Kettiros and the President of the Committee, Efthymios Diplaros over the timing of the placements of the MPs, led to a brief interruption of the session.
READ HERE: Diplaros and Kettiros fight in the Parliament-The Health Committee was interrupted for a while
Before the interruption, in the first phase, tension had been noted during the report of the director of the “Athina” Geriatric Clinic, Giannos Tafounas, who, in an attempt to highlight the necessity of the existence of the geriatric clinic, noted, among other things, referring to the following protocols that they carry out staff trainings. “Let me tell you an incident that occurred at the Larnaca General Hospital, so that you understand what Geriatrics means. A nurse stood over an elderly man in the hospital and tried to wake him up, but because he had a problem with his ears, he was unresponsive. When the nurse went in front of him, the old man was taken by surprise and hit the nurse. And what happened at the end of the day? They tied up the old man,” said Mr. Tafounas.
The immediate reaction was the representative of the State Health Services Organization (OKYpY), Haralambos Charilaou, who requested that the incident be officially filed and denounced. “Because we hear a lot. We can't open our mouths and just say.” Due to the tension, Ms. Savvia Orfanidou, who chaired the committee for a while replacing Mr. Diplaros, intervened and asked Mr. Harilaou to be appointed later.
Then, after taking the floor, Mr. Harilaou said, “public hospitals will not become anyone's vehicle to increase their units. Therefore, if they have something, they should openly report it. In the end, what we achieve is to target the public hospitals that are the only ones that offer services to the elderly. No private hospital offers services”.
Only two geriatricians in Cyprus
During the committee meeting, both the invited guests and the members of parliament expressed the importance of the creation of Geriatric Clinics, but also the medical specialty of geriatricians in Cyprus, of whom there are eight in total, of which only two practice profession. One, in fact, is the geriatrician of the “Athina” Clinic, which is headed for closure, while the second has his own practice.
In his deposition, the president of the Observatory of the Third Age, Dimos Antoniou, said that his daughter, who graduated as a doctor, wanted to become a geriatrician and did not come to Cyprus because she has no future. “We have to think about these people. Ms. Kanari had said that studies would be done for the creation of Geriatric Clinics. We have to see what will happen”, noted Mr. Antoniou.
Mr. Antoniou expressed disappointment at the behavior against the elderly. “They are second-class citizens, without a doubt. Equality of health care has gone out the window and gone. We see that the pathology wards are full. For a long time we have been calling for the creation of Geriatric Clinics, we have a bunch of Paediatricians and we have two geriatricians for 180 thousand citizens over 65 years of age. We have three to four rehabilitation centers. What will become of them all? We leave them alone in their homes without care and tell them to stay home and die. This is what we do at the end of the day. There must be a holistic approach. The Universities of Cyprus should be pressured to have geriatricians”.
The data of the OAU and the Ministry. Health
For his part, the Director of the Health Insurance Organization (OHI), Andreas Papakonstantinou, stated that there are criteria and that “we will look into the issue and if there is any injustice, maybe the Athena Clinic will be helped in that context. We want Geriatric Clinics to exist and the Ministry of Health should encourage their creation, as well as the inclusion of the geriatrician specialty”.
At the same time, he stated that, quality criteria that we have in place for a few months encourage our hospitals to manage elderly cases. Their pay increases if they manage elderly people. That's how we encourage them.”
In his statement, the chairman of the Health Committee, Mr. Efthimios Diplaros, stated that the members of the Committee will send a letter to the Ministry of Health, through which they will request information on the timetable that has been set for the creation of Geriatric Clinics, as well as the relevant study that would be prepared.
At the same time, in the letter they will request information on the preparation of the National Health Strategy for the Elderly which would be taken to the Council of Ministers.
See Also The background behind the decision to lock the Geriatric Clinic-The OAU response