Protest at the Universitar Hospital in Bucharest over unsanitary conditions, employees ask for the manager’s resignation

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Hospital leadership denies accusations, orders inquiry by the Health Ministry’s Control Body. Nurses say medical supplies were brought today at the last minute for fear of checks.

Several employees of the Universitar Hospital in Bucharest have staged a protest in front of the unit on Monday morning over improper working conditions. They also reclaimed the management is forcing them to choose between pay rises and holiday vouchers.

The employees argue they are working in tough conditions, complain they have no resources and enough supplies to take care of the patients. Moreover, they would have been threatened through messages not to protest, otherwise they will be fired.

Other two health professionals protesting on Monday announced they had are on hunger strike.

According to Maria Luceanu, anesthetist nurse at the hospital, the main concerns are related to the lack of staff, inhuman working conditions, the lack of medical supplies. „The hospital is practically falling on us,” she told Digi24, revealing that doctors and nurses are forced to buy washable paints or light bulbs. „The water is flushed by a wire at the toilet,” the nurse added. Besides, she confirmed patients are exposed to medical act related infections over the unsanitary conditions.

Simion Daniel Petrica, a nurse at the Ortho Ward, one of those on hunger strike, disclosed some surgeries were performed by isolating the patient with blouses and there were no cauterization wires to sterilize, they used second hand ones that could not be properly cleaned. He further said they had not had a lavatory for six whole months until a doctor took initiative and solved the problem. „The radiology device is broken, patients are sent to other hospitals. As far as I’ve heard, there is a brand new device at the 7th floor. The first who suffer are the patients and after them, it’s us, for, if God forbids, something happens, we are the one who go to jail,” he underlined.

Moreover, Simion Daniel Petrică revealed that since the morning’s protest, medical supplies have been brought in the hospital, for fear of an escalating working conflict, while the leadership has banned the rest of the employees from joining the protest.

Since Monday morning medical supplies have been continuously brought in the hospital, the warehouse is full, they have carried all day long. I will not give up hunger strike and protest until the operating room is operational. They cannot intimidate me, I will not give up after one day or two. If the Control Body came now, they would see all supplies in the warehouse were brought today after 14:00hr (…) The health managers are desperate, walking through the hospital to clean it all,” he said.

The employees ask that unannounced checks should be carried out, for until now everything turned out to be fine following scheduled checks. The protesters asked for the hospital manager’s resignation.

In retort, manager Adriana Nica denies the lack of medical supplies, saying the protesters don’t represent the entire hospital.

We are talking about 10-15 people protesting, they don’t represent all the staff, which mounts to over 3.600 employees. We are talking about some discontent of one or two people in a certain isolated ward, who have probably teamed up and decided to stage a protest today. I cannot take from the sick people or from investments and give holiday vouchers. These employees don’t understand the holiday vouchers cannot be granted preferentially. We agreed with the trade unions to give maximum pay rises. The financial impact of the holiday vouchers would be RON 4.5 million and we cannot give them while also maintaining the maximum pay rises,” Nica stated.

Health Ministry’s Control Body investigation ordered

The leadership of the Universitar Hospital has also announced that it had asked the Health Ministry’s Control Body to conduct an inquiry over the protesting employees’ disclosures on lack of material resources. The ministry’s representatives announced checks would be conducted.

“The practice of the hospital is carrying out under normal working conditions, and the patients admitted in the hospital’s ward are not and will not be affected. There is no lack of medical supplies, drugs, disinfectants, there is proof of transfers coming from other medical units, even from private clinics,” reads a press release issued by the hospital’s management.

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