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Cyprus Health

A&E nurses strike over safety fears

Nicosia hospital A&E department Photo: Christos Theodorides

Nurses working at state hospitals’ A&E departments on Wednesday went on a two-hour work stoppage after one of their colleagues in Limassol ended up with a broken arm after being pushed by a man fed up with waiting for his elderly sick father to be seen.

No problems were recorded during the work stoppage, which took place between noon and 2pm with skeleton staff manning the A&Es at state hospitals.

Nurses’ union Pasyno announced on Tuesday they would go on a work stoppage to protest over the incident, the latest of several over the last few years, but also poor working conditions. Members of the civil servants’ union Pasydy too announced they would join.

The incident occurred last Monday when one nurse, Andri Efstathiou, who was working as the head nurse for the night shift at the Limassol general hospital was pushed by a 61-year-old man who was waiting there with his sick father for hours. As a result, she broke her arm.

Efstathiou, a mother of three with the youngest being 11 months old, told media on Tuesday nurses need to feel they work in a safe environment so that they can return to their homes safe and sound.

“What saddens me is that all colleagues, nurses and doctors, we were doing our best that night to serve the patients,” she told Alpha TV.

She added that that night, as usual, there were a lot of patients waiting for hours at the A&E with many serious cases but there was a long delay in admitting them due to the lack of beds.

“The triage nurse had to lock the door to her office three times that night fearing for her safety,” Efstathiou said.

As regards the attack, she said the issue would be settled in court.

State health services organization Okypy had said on Tuesday the work stoppage would not solve any problems.

It also said police officers posted at state hospitals were given strict instructions to promptly intervene to avoid such incidents.

As regards overcrowding in state hospitals and the stay of patients in need of inpatient hospitalisation at the A&Es, “a phenomenon that is occasionally observed,” Okypy said that in cooperation with the heads of the state hospitals’ clinics takes all necessary steps to alleviate the problem.

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