State nurses’ unions threatened to strike on Monday unless the health ministry approves their demand for hiring staff to help cover more than 160 vacant posts.
Pasyno and the nurses’ branch of civil servants’ union Pasydy have long complained about serious understaffing in state hospitals.
Head of the Pasydy nurses, Prodromos Argyrides, told the daily Politis that at the moment, there are 165 vacant nurses’ posts in state hospitals – 80 are on long-term or maternity leave and 85 are seconded to a number of health ministry departments.
The request filed several months ago to the health and finance ministries to hire more staff, he said, remains unanswered.
The problem is worse during the summer when staff take leave, he said. In addition, Argyrides said, nursing staff needs have increased following changes in state hospitals.
Pasydy nurses, he said, are waiting for the response from the ministry before taking any decisions.
Pasyno, in an announcement, said that its board is to hold a meeting to discuss the understaffing problem.
Delays in resolving this issue, it said, “puts workers and patients in great and constant risk”.
Pasyno said that it was prepared to deal vigorously with the issue for “immediate and final” results.