The state health services organisation (Okypy) said on Thursday it was doing “everything humanly possible” for mental health patients, less than a week after Athalassa psychiatric hospital staff protested understaffing and overcrowding at the facility.

Despite the fact that admissions of patients with mental health issues have increased recently, Okypy said it has initiated various actions to better manage those patients.

The organisation said it would create a hospice expected to be operation by this autumn, with the capacity to host 11 chronic psychiatric patients who are currently occupying beds at the Athalassa hospital.

The hospice, Okypy said, will meet all the standards required for the operation of such facilities, noting that same as at the Athalassa hospital, specialised mental health staff will staff the hospice facilities on a 24/7 basis.

A new mental health facility is also in the works, the organisation added, saying that an agreement has already been signed for the construction of the first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed within the next two years. Work has also started on the design of the second phase, according to the announcement.

Last week, nursing staff at Athalassa psychiatric hospital staged a two-hour work stoppage to protest overcrowding and understaffing at the facility.

According to the nurses’ branch of the civil servants’ union Pasydy, there has been a sharp increase in admissions to the hospital which now had more patients than capacity, with authorities failing to act to address the issue.

As a result, on Thursday, a day before the demonstration, one patient had to be accommodated on a sofa and the second on the floor, the union said in a statement.