COVID19: ‘Public hospitals in chaos’ say nurses

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Cyprus hospitals are in a state of chaos as they are understaffed with not enough medical supplies while communication between the Health Ministry and those managing healthcare is failing, say nurses.

The Pancyprian Union of Nurses (PASYNO) is sounding the alarm over the state of public hospitals, questioning the capability of the Famagusta General Hospital to act as the reference centre for coronavirus.

Following a meeting with the country’s health services, Panayiotis Georgiou, the President of PASYNO told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), that Famagusta Hospital is not ready to treat serious cases of COVID-19.

“We don’t have the equipment. They told us the hospital was ready. Can they explain why now two cases that need intensive care are being sent to the Limassol Hospital?” asked Georgiou.

Georgiou told CNA that there are not enough protective suits for health professionals coming in contact with patients.

“We were told that there is enough equipment, although they do not have the figures, and that more are being ordered.”

He added that health professionals at Paphos General Hospital reported that they did not have enough protective gear.

Ten health professionals from Paphos hospital have contracted the virus from a patient in ICU.

Georgiou said that apart from the nurses at Paphos hospital, who have fallen ill, another 110 nurses are in self-isolation after coming into contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

“As we understand from what has been told to us by the authorities, they do not intend to hire more nursing staff, despite a great number of nurses not being able to report for duty.”

Georgiou noted that 50 nurses from the Nicosia General Hospital and 60 from the Paphos are currently in self-isolation.

He also said that the competent authorities have yet to explain what happens with health professionals who either belong to a vulnerable group, who are single parents or both parents are working at a public hospital.

He claimed there is a total breakdown in communication between the competent authorities and the health professionals.

“One authority is saying one thing, and another is saying something different. In the case of the outbreak at Paphos hospital, health professionals were informed via the media that they had contracted the virus,” said Georgiou.