Private hospitals are struggling to keep their nursing staff afloat, as a huge influx continues to move to the public sector – that offers the unbeatable perk of a job for life.

Marinos Soteriou, a doctor working with the private sector, told the Cyprus Mail on Friday that although private hospitals are offering equally competitive salaries, it is impossible to compete with public hospitals.

“They offer a career progression that is not dependent necessarily on skill and performance. It is influenced more by partisanship, unions and a whole host of other factors.”

Further compounding the problem is the fact that there is a decrease in the available supply of nurses. Though there are three nursing schools in the country, the number of graduates has been on a steady decline over the past few years, Soteriou noted.

“With private hospitals now in Gesy, there is a greater need for nurses.”

Marios Karaiskakis, head of private hospitals association told Philenews a meeting was held earlier this week with the nurses and midwives’ association (Pasynm), patients federation and the relevant department of the health ministry.

“Even the nursing staff that we have disappears from the private sector overnight when the state health services organisation calls them to take on duties at state hospitals. They feel there is stronger job security even if the salaries between the public and private sector do not differ greatly.”

Head of Pasynm, Giannis Leontiou said this problem has been ongoing for 15 years and the rush to find solutions has been ongoing since them.

“We are ready to collaborate with all parties to develop an action plan so as to solve this problem. Nursing shortages are a serious problem that immediately affects the safety of patients and the quality of their healthcare.”