Employees at the Limassol state hospital pharmacy on Tuesday announced a work stoppage this week to protest severe understaffing which has left the pharmacy unable to function effectively.

Pharmacists from the Isotita trade union will strike between 11am and 1pm on Thursday.

They said the pharmacy staff of the public hospital have been straining daily to meet increasing demands, operating with one fewer staff member than required for proper and efficient operations.

Compounding the issue, another pharmacist, who is also the head of the hospital pharmacy, is set to retire on Wednesday.

“It is easily understood that a hospital pharmacy with two fewer staff members and without a capable head to take responsibility, make choices, and make decisions where and when needed for the smooth operation of the space cannot be considered fully functional,” the union stressed.

Due to the insufficient staffing, the only solution, the union said, is for pharmacy to reduce its operating hours by two hours this Thursday, a measure that will continue in the coming days. There is a possibility that the pharmacy will close for more hours before the issue is resolved.

The union has called on all relevant authorities, including state health services organisation Okypy, pharmaceutical services, and the health ministry, to collaborate and find an immediate solution.