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Cyprus Health

European nurses body lends support to striking Cypriot counterparts

The European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) on Monday pledged their support for “the struggle of nurses in Cyprus” for equal recognition as professionals.

In a letter addressed to President Nicos Anastasiades, the Secretary General of EFN Paul De Raeve, said that the organisation, despite the fact that it recognises the need for the government to slash salaries due to the economic crisis, it however, “expects nurses to have reasonable remuneration and acceptable working conditions”.

“We are aware that the Republic of Cyprus provides salaries at a certain level to all university graduates, and that nurses and midwives in Cyprus are struggling to survive with working conditions which are unacceptable in 2016,” it said. This situation, the letter said, “leads to stress and professional burnout, seriously compromising the quality of healthcare being delivered to EU citizens and jeopardising their safety”.

It added that nurses’ working conditions should include “a safe environment, a safe level of staffing and equal pay with other comparable professionals”.

“We stand in solidarity with nurses and midwives of Cyprus in calling your government to honour its obligations with respect to the principles of equality and such provisions as are laid down in national legislation and the relevant EU directives,” the letter said.

The EFN, which represents three million nurses in the EU and Europe, calls on Anastasiades “to reconsider” his government’s position before taking further actions towards health care reforms.

It also asks that “immediate action” is taken to correct “the effects” of the reduction of nurses’ wages and the “diminished recruitment and retention rates that compromise quality of care and patient safety”.

“Nurses and midwives are a vital resource without whom any health care system will fail. We urge you not take actions that will only result in more burnout, less productivity and exacerbate an already difficult situation,” the letter said.

It added that EFN, will inform EU institutions, “on what is happening in Cyprus to our profession and as such increase the political attention on the important role and working conditions of nurses and midwives, of women, in the healthcare system”.

“We encourage you”, it added, to deploy the social cohesion funds to support the needs of the healthcare system. It also stressed the importance of the compliance of EU member-states with the relevant European directives “even in times of austerity”.

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