The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) in a statement today said that it has declared an industrial dispute at the Gozo General Hospital, which they say has been brought about by what it describes as a “great shortage of carers at the hospital.”
These shortages have been going on for the past 18 months, the Union said, to the detriment of the patients and the elderly residents residing in Ward St. Anna.
The MUMN added that, “Such shortages were also due to the fact that certain carers were transferred to security guards or other duties without any replacements being made. Over 20 carers are currently needed to fill the long existing vacancies in a small hospital such as the Gozo General hospital.”
The Union pointed out that “although MUMN has been sending correspondence about this issue for more than a year, the commitments by the Health Division of engaging carers has never materialised, even though this was promised on numerous occasions.”
“Nurses have been transferred from Malta to GGH three times in this present legislation, because of MUMN directives, carers who are an important supporting staff to nurses, particularly in the care of the elderly, were never recruited in the Gozo Hospital, the Union said.
MUMN has given a deadline to the Health Department that if if by Friday, the 10th of October, carers are not provided, all nurses in the Gozo General Hospital, including the nurses working in St. Anna Ward, will cease to carry out the work of carers and dedicate their time to nursing duties only.
“For over a year, nurses at the Gozo General Hospital, particularly those in St Anna, had to do all the additional work which should have been provided by such carers just to maintain a decent service to the elderly and due to the great respect nurses have for their patients,”
“After a year of broken promises, it has become clear that the elderly patients of Gozo General Hospital are not of a priority to the Heath Department in Malta,” the Union concluded.