Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Medical staff warned over sick leave absences

Between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of state health professionals are absent from their duties

Measures will be taken against state health professionals who abstain from their duties with no good reason, an official said on Wednesday.

According to state health services organisation Okypy’s executive director for the Larnaca and Famagusta districts, Giorgos Karotsakis, between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of state health professionals are absent from their duties. Some of these are because they are in vulnerable groups but some of them are offering other reasons.

Reports said this week that more than 180 health professionals alone were absent on sick leave from the Nicosia general and Makarios children’s hospitals, not counting those who are in self-isolation or tested positive to coronavirus.

Karotsakis told state broadcaster CyBC radio on Wednesday that doctors and nurses on sick leave will have to return to work if the medical board decides they are fit to resume their duties.

He warned that if they refuse, measures would be taken against them.

Karotsakis said that some of them returned to work after being reprimanded while warning letters would be sent to others.

He told CyBC that the health minister’s decree on the requisition of the services of healthcare professionals also concerns those working in state hospitals and not just in the private sector.

Karotsakis said that unless there is compliance, Okypy would inform the police.

His statements come as news that a doctor and two nurses at the Larnaca general hospital’s accident and emergency department were among the new confirmed cases announced on Tuesday. They were in self-isolation since they had been found to have come in contact with others tested positive to coronavirus.

Karotsakis said later in the day the hospital’s A&E department is now operating on skeleton staff since some of the doctors and nurses believed to have come in contact with their infected colleagues have been sent home as precaution pending their test results. The operations of the A&E department have been moved to another area until the facilities are disinfected.

Clarifications were also given on the health professional, reportedly a nurse, who was tested positive in Paphos. The man works at the state hospital’s A&E department but was seconded at the Paphos airport where he was screening passengers. Since he had also been to the hospital’s A&E department recently, it was decided on Wednesday to close it for disinfection. The department was opened again later in the day.



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