The mental health nursing staff branch of trade union Pasydy will participate in the public nurses’ one-hour work stoppage to protest understaffing on Thursday.

The announcement came just hours after State Health Services (Okypy) said they are making efforts to address staff shortages.

Following an extraordinary board meeting on Wednesday, the mental health nursing staff decided to join the protest planned by the Pasydy and Pasyno nursing staff branches.

In a statement expressing disappointment at the attitude of Okypy, the nurses said that for the past four years, the organisation in charge of the national health scheme has failed to protect Mental Health Nurses and patients of the Athalassa Hospital.

They highlighted a significant increase in admissions, with occupancy rates reaching 150% daily, which has led to increased aggressive behaviour among patients.

The nurses also condemned the organisation’s “defiant attitude” towards the nurses and other employees, accusing Okypy of refusing to negotiate collective agreements. They pointed out the lack of planning to solve the problems plaguing Mental Health Services and the inability of the Okypy to even supply uniforms to nursing staff.

Pasydy called on the nurses to attend the work-stoppage during their free time. The action will take place between noon and 1pm in front of the hospitals where they work.

According to Pasyno, there has been a shortage of 138 nurses at state hospitals for the past year.