News Local Coronavirus: Nurses report understaffing, equipment shortages at public hospitals

Coronavirus: Nurses report understaffing, equipment shortages at public hospitals

President of nurses union Pasyno Panayiotis Georgiou describes the current situation at public hospitals in relation to the Coronavirus crisis as ‘chaotic’, mentioning the lack of coordination between the Ministry of Health and the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY), the shortage of nurses and the shortage in special uniforms, the CNA reports.

He also expressed concerns on whether the Famagusta Hospital, named as reference hospital for confirmed Coronavirus cases, can cope with severe cases.

Georgiou was speaking following a meeting on Tuesday at the Ministry of Health with nurses’ unions.

“Everyone was accepting of the fact — MoH, Okypy and the unions — that there needs to be better coordination and communication by everyone. Updates need to reach the front line without delay.

“As regards the uniforms and the technical equipment needed to handle the virus, they were not in a position to tell us if we have enough. They told us we have equipment, we don’t know the quantities and said they are ordering more now.

“What we know for sure is that there is no equipment and that we are in search for it. They had assured us that the equipment is there and that it’s enough and that they were ready. All of this is concerning.

“From what we gathered at the meeting, they don’t know if they will hire more nurses to cover current needs, which keep increasing.

“50 nurses from Nicosia Hospital are already in self-isolation and another 60 at Paphos Hospital.

“We have also been waiting two days to find out what will happen with nurses that are part of the vulnerable groups of the population, single parents or those parents both working as medical professionals and can’t get any time off. They said they would let us know at the meeting but they didn’t. There are vulnerable medical professionals who are still in hospitals working.

“There is no coordination; the Ministry of Health does one thing and OKYPY another.

“We’ve had reports from the Paphos Hospital that there were no uniforms to treat all those cases that tested positive, and today they didn’t have the necessary equipment to collect samples for testing.

“We are concerned, not for the virus, which we are prepared to deal with. What nurses worry about is that information is not circulated properly, and coordination is problematic, which results in some information reaching us by word of mouth or by telephone, and sometimes violating existing protocols.

“It is unacceptable for a nurse who tested positive to Coronavirus to find out from the media.

“We don’t have the equipment. The Famagusta Hospital is not ready to treat serious cases. They told us that everything was ready. Now two cases that require intensive care are taken to Limassol Hospital. Can they answer the question of how ready the Famagusta Hospital ICU is and why these patients are being taken to Limassol?

“We are pitiful. God have mercy on us,” Panayiotou concluded.

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