By Evie Andreou
HEALTH minister Philippos Patsalis said that no problems occurred during yesterday’s two-hour work stoppage in the morning by the emergency and accident ward nurses at the Nicosia and Limassol general hospitals.
The nurses said that the problem was the “inability to serve people” because there were no empty beds in the hospitals and that because of this, patients remained in the A&E, making it difficult for medical staff to tend to fresh emergencies and also posed a risk of losing lives.
The nurses’ union had said that they had complained repeatedly but were told the matter would be resolved when the national health scheme (NHS) and hospital reforms would be introduced.
“The Nicosia hospital is overcrowded and problems are encountered especially in the emergency rooms,” Patsalis said after a meeting yesterday morning at the Nicosia hospital.
He added that as of Thursday night hospital staff had arranged for the timely departure of discharged patients from the emergency rooms.
“The measures taken yesterday were very important and have helped immensely with the observed congestion; … We also urge citizens to come and collect discharged patients on time to avoid delays in the release of beds,” Patsalis said.
Other measures needed to help alleviate the problem are the fast processing of laboratory and imaging tests needed for diagnoses and treatments, better management of beds and better administrative actions, Patsalis said.
“Of the 450 beds of the Nicosia hospital, every bed counts,” Patsalis said.
He added that every Monday he will host management teams of different state hospitals where he and his ministry’s officials will discuss their problems.
“I want to thank the nurses for pointing out this problem. The nursing branch is a basic part of safeguarding public health. That is why I insist that nurses participate in the upcoming weekly meetings on the public hospitals,” Patsalis said.
The head of PASYDI nurses’ union Prodoromos Argyrides said that even though no patient at the Nicosia General Hospital was waiting for a bed yesterday, in Limassol seven patients were still in the emergency room from the previous night waiting to be transferred in beds in other wards.