Cyprus Mail

Nurses warn hospitals will turn into ‘poor relation’ of healthcare system (Updated)

State nurses on Friday warned that if the weakening of hospitals continues in the same way they will be unable to respond to their role under Gesy and will turn into the “poor relation” of the healthcare system.

The nurses’ branch of civil servants’ union Pasydy said in a written statement there was constant downgrading of state hospitals without any prospect of improvement in sight.

“One of the key principles of the implementation of Gesy was the empowerment of public hospitals to become competitive in a free market environment, but above all the key pillar of the Gesy implementation,” the nurses said.

But as the facts show, they said, this principle does not ultimately apply. “Hospitals have been weakened, downgraded with the risk of becoming the poor relation instead of a basic pillar.”

The nurses referred to the continuous flight of doctors from public hospitals and health centres which has a direct and crucial impact on the functioning of the departments providing health services, with the biggest problem being observed in the accident and emergency departments.

“The lack of doctors has a knock-on effect on the performance of nurses, whose numbers are marginal,” they said.

They also raised the problem of understaffing as part of the health ministry’s policy of continuing to second nursing staff to cover various needs, which in most cases do not fall within the scope of nursing duties.

“We call on the ministry of health and Okypy (the state health services organisation) to review all secondments and where they are not necessary to terminate them,” the nurses said.

Where secondments are deemed as necessary then the gap created should be filled immediately, they said.

Meanwhile, Pasydy’s mental health nurses said later in the day that persons with mental disorders were being treated as “second class citizens” referring to the ongoing “unacceptable” conditions at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital.

Despite the announcement some two years ago by the government that the hospital’s infrastructures would be upgraded, after the restoration of two wards in 2018, the announced phase two that concerned work on the rest of the wards never started, they said.

The nurses said there were serious shortages of beds and as a result patients were being stacked “like sardines” in the wards. Shortages are also observed in important psychiatric drugs, some of which help improve the mental health of patients and as a result of the lack of these drugs aggressive behaviours and of hospitalisation of patients have increased.

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