Three female UK tourists were arrested for allegedly assaulting a nurse at Paphos General Hospital amid a wave of condemnations by unions and the Health Ministry.
The incident occurred during the early hours of Sunday when three young women were taken by ambulance to the A&E of Paphos hospital in a state of intoxication.
Police said the three women had caused a disturbance, shouted, swore, and then assaulted a nurse, injuring her on the head.
A police officer on duty at Paphos General Hospital A&E had tried to calm them down but was reportedly pushed several times.
The officer told the trio he was placing them under arrest, but they fled the scene, with local police tracking down a 22-year-old.
On Monday, she appeared before Paphos district court and was remanded in police custody for two days.
The other two, aged 20 and 23, were located and apprehended by police later Monday. It is unclear whether they will appear in court for a remand order.
Talking to the Cyprus News Agency, a Paphos police spokesperson said the three were being held in connection with a case of drunkenness, causing a disturbance in the A&E, attacking a police officer, public insults, assaulting and causing actual bodily harm to a nurse and resisting arrest.
The incident triggered angry condemnations from unions who urged authorities to take action, as this is not the first incident of violence against a health worker.
In a statement, the nurses’ branch of the civil servants’ union PASYDY slammed the government and the state health services organisation for “the inability to protect health professionals.”
PSYNO, the Cyprus Union of Nurses, also issued a hard-hitting statement, saying it would not tolerate nurses being used as ‘punch bags’.
It called authorities to introduce effective measures to stop such drunken behaviour simply because they are impatient for treatment.
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said he had instructed the police to investigate the incident.
He also spoke with the assaulted nurse to wish her a speedy recovery and underline the ministry’s support.
Hadjipantela unreservedly condemned such actions and any act of violence against health professionals on duty.