Cyprus Mail

Hot water supply restored at psychiatric hospital (Updated)

The current Athalassa hospital


The technical problem at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital in Nicosia, which had left the institution without hot water for a week is restored, it was announced on Wednesday.

Director of the state mental health services, Yiannis Kalakoutas said that the problem was due to a damage in the engine room which was fixed by a crew from the public works department. At the moment, the hospital has 60 patients, he said.

Kalakoutas, said that the construction of a new mental health hospital is imperative as the existing one was built in 1964.

Despite widespread publicity on Tuesday about the broken water heating system, the problem remained unresolved until Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday morning, the head of mental health nurses’ branch of civil servants’ union Pasydy, Andreas Andreou, had made a plea through state broadcaster CyBC to everyone concerned to address the issue and the many other technical problems the hospital’s building was facing due to its outdated infrastructure.

Nursing staff at the hospital were forced Tuesday to issue an announcement saying that the facility had been without hot water for a week and that they had not been given any answer as to when the problem would be solved, in a bid to put pressure on competent authorities to act.

Although they notified the relevant authorities, they did not receive any response as to when the damage would be repaired. Until the problem was fixed, the nurses said that they were heating water in electric kettles so that the patients could wash, but that a daily bath was impossible.

“The same problem occurred 20 to 25 days ago, and the hospital was left once again with no hot water for a week,” Andreou said.

This, he said, in combination with the central heating not working in two wards, made conditions at the hospital very difficult.

“We had proposed the installation of instant water heaters in every ward, but it was turned down as we were told that this would overload the power grid,” Andreou said.

Just because officials were calling for the construction of a new mental hospital it did not justify neglecting the existing infrastructure, Andreou said.

Conditions at the Athalassa hospital, he said, were even worse than those encountered in third-world countries.

The staff had made another plea in December, this time over problems in central heating that had left them and patients freezing for ten days.

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