Cyprus Mail

State medics call for safety after further attack

The latest attack took place on Monday

State doctors, nurses and midwives on Tuesday called on hospitals operator Okypy to implement protocols and security measures to protect healthcare workers from attacks by patients, especially those in the mental health sector.

The call came after a man on Monday threw stones at the Gefyra (Bridge) Substitute Substance Abuse clinic in Nicosia, and then went on to do the same at another Okypy outpatients’ clinic in the capital, according to state doctors union Pasyki. Gefyra is a therapeutic unit for the treatment of opioid drug addiction located at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital.

Pasyki condemned “the unprovoked attack with stones that was accompanied by verbal violence and threats.

“Once again there is a serious issue of safety of working medical officers while they are trying  to perform their duties,” the union said.

“Yesterday’s violent behaviour comes two months after an incident of serious physical violence against a female psychiatrist in her office at the Limassol psychiatric clinic which we had also reported and for which we are still awaiting official information,” it added.

Pasyki said it considers it “self-evident that Okypy must show zero tolerance for violence against health workers in hospitals, health centres and outpatient clinics”.

It called for immediate protocols and sufficient security measures so that employees are not at risk of delinquent, anti-social behaviour, intimidation, psychological, verbal and physical violence.

The doctors’ union was joined by representatives of nurses and midwives in their condemnation of the latest incident and said it was unacceptable that mental health nurses, “who contribute to the provision of comprehensive care and support to people with mental challenges, promoting stabilisation and psychosocial well-being” should be attacked in the line of duty.

“The fact that the attack was carried out by a patient does not justify the act at a time when loads of research worldwide show that nursing staff are vulnerable to such attacks by patients, with the very recent example of the murder of a nurse by a patient in a hospital in France,” the nurses and midwives said.

The issue of safety that the latest incident raises falls under the “absolute responsibilities” of the justice, health and labour ministries, police and Okypy, they added.

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