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Athalassa hospital at 120 per cent capacity, nurses say

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Athalassa hospital has reached 120 per cent capacity, mental health nurses said on Thursday and called on the government to implement a plan to protect staff and patients.

Increased admissions during the pandemic have led the hospital to treat more than 25 patients in rooms of 20-bed capacity, the mental health nurses said in a written statement.

Meanwhile the government refuses to address long-standing issues of the hospital, it was added.

These also include old infrastructure which was deemed unsafe for habitation by the town planning department in 2019, the lack of significant psychotropic drugs and the absence of a specialist general practitioner and social worker at the hospital.

The nurses said the situation is only expected to get worse in light of a third wave of the pandemic.

“The state is once again declaring that it is preparing for a possible third wave of the pandemic. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of planning regarding the effects of the coronavirus on mental health,” the announcement said.

“We demand protection and respect for the mentally ill, with the inalienable right to equal quality healthcare. We demand protection for the nursing staff.”

According to Eurostat 2017 data, Cyprus is second to last in psychiatric hospital beds among other EU member states counting just 21 beds for every 100,000 residents. Belgium was first with 136 beds for psychiatric care per 100,000 residents, while the EU average was 69 beds for the same population.

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