STAFF at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital in Nicosia claim they fear for the safety and that of their patients due to the admittance of “aggressive” inmates from the central prisons.
In a statement, the nursing staff of the Mental Health Services warned they would take “dynamic measures” unless the matter was resolved.
“Often, convicts serving long sentences and whose behaviour is extremely aggressive toward the staff and the patients are brought here [to Athalassa hospital], and whereas these individuals are brought under heavy security… they are subsequently left in the ward without being guarded by prison wardens or police officers.”
Almost daily, the statement added, “the staff and the patients are at risk, while on certain occasions nurses and patients have been struck.”
The nursing staff said they wrote to the ministers of health and justice a month ago raising the issue, but to date they have received no response, nor have any corrective steps been taken.
The nurses cited a clause in the Prisons Law of 1996, which stipulates that convicts must be suitably attended while receiving treatment in a hospital.
“Unfortunately, this provision is not enforced at Athalassa hospital, and the aforementioned situation, in conjunction with the unsuitable infrastructure in the men’s admissions ward, put at immediate risk not only the safety of the nursing staff and patients, but of all citizens, since it is easier for them to escape, with all the dangers this entails.”