Emergency room nurses at Cyprus’ state hospitals will on Wednesday carry out a two-hour work stoppage from noon to 2pm in protest to a lack of state action to ensure their safety.
The nurses participating in the strike belong to the PASYNO union. It on Monday remained unclear if they colleagues belonging to the nursing branch of civil servant union PASIDY will also be taking part.
The decision to strike came after two nurses were attacked at Nicosia General Hospital on Saturday night. The two women, one of whom suffered injuries to her arm and another who was knocked to the ground, were attacked by a man who did not think enough attention was being paid to the person they had brought to the hospital.
The man began to shout and swear and throw things around before turning on the two nurses.
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Speaking to state radio on Monday, PASYNO Secretary General, Panayiotis Georgiou, noted that the emergency room had been trying to save the life of an accident victim with multiple injuries at the time but had still been doing their best for all the other patients.
“There have been 12 serious cases of violence against hospital staff over recent years,” Georgiou complained, adding that until the offenders were made an example of, this kind of behaviour would continue.
“There is always a police presence in the emergency room but nothing is being done,” he said, adding the only time anyone was arrested was when he himself was a year ago taken into custody after complaining to the police following a similar attack in Limassol.
“Female nurses are asking to be transferred out of the emergency rooms,” he said, noting that it was usually female nurses and doctors who bore the brunt of attacks from irate patients or their family. One of the medical professionals targeted in one of the 12 attacks was pregnant at the time, Georgiou added.
“And what will happen if a male nurse reacts if he attacked? Will he get fired for defending himself?” the union chief added.
Georgiou complained that meetings with the ministries of Health and Defence had over the years ended without any tangible result, warning that if nothing was done, Wednesday’s two hour work stoppage could escalate into larger scale action.