Cypriot patients must become better informed about their rights in order to follow the correct routes for resolving their problems, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis advised.
Speaking after a meeting with the patient complaint committees to discuss the ratification and protection of patients' rights, Patsalis said that there are very few complaints because patients in Cyprus are not aware of their rights.
"They have learned to go to the minister or the media to resolve their problems. This is not the correct way to go about things," he said.
Commenting on the legal framework, Patsalis said that in 2004 a law was established to protect patient rights that include a monitoring mechanism to secure respect for patients' rights by all service providers.
"Through this legislation we have placed officers for patients' rights at all state hospitals and have created complaint examination committees in all districts.
Their role is to look into patient complaints, resolve problems on the spot wherever possible and to provide counselling and assistance to patients to protect their rights," Patsalis said.
According to the minister, the use of the legislation and the operation of the committees and their officials is the best way to resolve issues and he called on all patients to become familiar with their rights which are available and posted at all hospitals.
In light of European Day for Patients' Rights which was celebrated on Friday, the ministry of health is launching a campaign to raise awareness while at the same time taking actions to reinforce patient rights.
The recently appointed minister said that during his visits to state and private hospitals over the last few days, he has talked to officers and the complaint committees and asked for their help to resolve patient problems on a daily basis.
He also promised to continue having regular meetings with the officers to reinforce the institution.