A disciplinary investigation will be launched into the incident of an elderly woman left naked and uncovered at the Limassol General Hospital last month, state health services organisation (Okypy) said on Monday.
A photo of the woman caused a social media uproar in just a few hours after it was posted by geriatrician Dr Marios Kyriazis on Facebook.
Initially Okypy said the situation was “not how it looks”.
Then Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said it was an isolated incident and called for an investigation. “If some people have to be suspended they will be. We have done so in the past in cases where it was deemed appropriate,” he said.
The conclusion has been sent to the organisation’s management and based on the results Okypy “will proceed with a disciplinary investigation and in cases where non-compliance with procedures is identified, will take appropriate action”.
A full update on the matter will be provided upon completion of the disciplinary investigation as well, Okypy said, concluding that “with regard to the taking of photographs and their publication, a complaint has been made to the police and is awaiting an update”.
The photo followed earlier outrage when it was reported that elderly patients were being kept tied to their beds.
But Okypy maintained that the state health services have “zero-tolerance” for anything that violates patient rights and dignity and offered assurances that transparency in proceedings would be upheld, and punishment meted out as necessary.
Both the Third Age Observatory and Okypy, however, highlighted that there is an urgent need to properly train staff in geriatric patient care so that outdated models of care and hospital “culture” can be changed and for such incidents to be avoided going forward.