Hospital chief: Fewer nurses and doctors want to work in coronavirus wards

Arkadi Popov.
Arkadi Popov. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Hospitals will continue suspending scheduled treatments, but specialists and nurses are far less likely to leave their regular positions to work in coronavirus wards again, said West Tallinn Central Hospital (LTKH) chief physician Arkadi Popov.

"It almost became a very serious issue for us. When we had to put people to work in our COVID-19 wards, more an more people refused, quit or just told us it was unfair that they had to do it," Popov said on ETV's current affairs show "Ringvaade" on Thursday.

He said the government's support is important for nurses and doctors alike. This support should not only be financial, but also in terms of restrictions. "Of course, they look at this situation from a perspective of is the government helping them or not. Not just financially, with a pay raise sometime in the future, but also by compensating overtime, the state working on certain restrictions," the chief of medicine said.

"Medics are completely tired. It is a very sensitive subject for them - do they see support, a light at the end of the tunnel. I can say now that this light seems far away now and from the perspective of the restrictions imposed from October 25, this light is very far for me," Popov noted.

Commenting on the new restrictions, Popov said it will cause resistance among some people, but it will certainly motivate some to get vaccinated.

He said a vaccination rate of 95 percent could help against the highly infectious Delta variant. "We must fight not only those who have not gotten one vaccine dose, but also motivate those who got vaccinated in the winter and allow them to get booster doses to keep the virus from spreading," Popov said.

The Tartu University Hospital board decided on Wednesday to suspend scheduled treatments from Monday (October 25) as the number of admitted coronavirus patients continues to rise. The measures will affect cardiology, pulmonology and neurology among others.

The West Tallinn Central Hospital will suspend patient visitations in all of its departments from Thursday. The hospital announced visits to seriously ill patients is only allowed with a special permit. The patient's doctor can provide information and packages can be delivered to the patients.

The East Tallinn Central Hospital will reduce stationary treatments in internal and surgical departments. The hospital will reduce inpatient care from Friday to open a second coronavirus ward.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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