State doctors are hoping a meeting with the Finance Ministry will find a solution to their ongoing overtime pay dispute with the Health Minister.
Their union president Maro Kontou on Monday told The Cyprus Daily during the meeting, a date for which has not yet been set, the doctors plan to see whether some funds can be found for covering doctors' overtime pay and to table their proposal on saving funds.
She excluded the possibility of strike action. State doctors' union (Pasyki) charged it is incompressible for the entire medical community of the public sector to be victimised due to a weakness by the Health Minister to develop a correct system for recording and estimating overtime work.
"The Minister's conclusion that the whole system of overtime pay does not confirm the necessity of overtime for doctors comes as surprise and raises the question of how patients are going to be cared for after working hours," the union said. A number of issues are still pending and are open for discussion, including estimating the average overtime pay for state doctors, it added.
State doctors reiterated that their priority was the immediate and first class care of patients.
Health Minister Petros Petrides on Monday said that he cannot accept cuts in the public health sector that would go to pay overtime.
The Minister noted he agreed with cuts that would lead to an improvement of services to patients and more accessibility for them to state hospitals. Petrides reiterated that his proposals are based on confirmations by the Auditor General, who for years argued there were weaknesses in doctors' overtime system which in many cases could not justify overtime. Reportedly, doctors can earn up to €80,000 a year in overtime pay alone.