The head of the nurses’ union was arrested in Limassol during an early morning meeting on Monday between union members and police at the hospital and following an incident involving a drunken man.
Panayiotis Georgiou, the general secretary of Pasyno was apprehended around 9am and taken to Polemidia police station where a statement was taken from him before he was charged for causing a disturbance and swearing at police. He was released at around midday.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said that earlier in the day an intoxicated 28-year-old man had come to A&E for first aid attacked staff and patients and damaged property before he was held down by a nurse. After calming down and apologising, he was treated and released.
At the meeting between Georgiou, who had asked to be informed about the incident, and the police there was a heated exchange which ended with the union man being arrested after allegedly causing a disturbance and swearing at a police officer.
Health Minister George Pamporides who was in Limassol for other duties visited the police station to be informed about the incident.
Speaking a little after being freed, Georgiou maintained he had been on the receiving end of a verbal assault by the policeman, to which he responded, only to be informed he was under arrest.
Georgiou said nursing staff were subjected daily to verbal and physical attacks and asked how it was possible that he had been apprehended and not the patient who caused the episode in A&E.
The union head said the state should take measures to protect its staff.
In an open letter to the health minister later in the day, the association of nurses and midwives said it was unacceptable that health workers were under attack.
“We have called repeatedly (July 8, 2013, July 25, 2014 and just recently on September 9, 2016) on the competent services of the ministry of health s to review the environment and nurses’ working conditions in state hospitals and to make every effort to ensure colleagues can work in safe and supportive conditions,” the association said.
“It is intolerable that health workers, committed to serving the public are under threat of bodily harm in the course of their duty. The fact is that despite all the warnings, the state has not taken adequate measures to cover the lack of security in the workplace.”