Nurses shortage threatens health system

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Private hospitals are facing a serious shortage of nursing staff, as changes brought on by the introduction of the General Health System saw many switch to state hospitals while new private health institutions have come online.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, the head of the Cyprus Association of Private Hospitals, Marios Karaiskakis, said the problem would worsen in the coming years when authorities greenlight more private hospitals.

“At the moment, all our efforts to staff our hospitals with nurses are falling through as there is a general shortage of health workers in Greece and the EU, from where we could have easily imported staff,” said Karaiskakis.

“Available nurses are being snatched up by the state hospitals, which are also in a better position to offer a secure job, even though salaries are more or less the same for healthcare workers in the private and public sectors”.

He said the issue was discussed this week at a meeting with the Health Ministry, Cyprus Nurses and Midwives Association, and Federation of Patients Associations.

President of the Cyprus Nurses and Midwives Association, Yiannis Leontiou, said measures must be taken immediately.

“The association had warned over the coming shortages for the past 15 years.

“We are ready to work with all stakeholders to devise an action plan to find a solution to the problem.

“A shortage of nurses and midwives is a serious matter, endangering the safety of patients, as it affects the quality of healthcare we offer them”.

The head of the Federation of Patients Associations, Marios Kouloumas, said: The Education Ministry needs to step in.

“There are two private and one state nursing school.

“We need to find ways to attract students to opt for a career in healthcare.”