Doctors strike tomorrow in hospital departments and health centres
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Following a meeting earlier today between the Medical Association of Malta and the Minister for Health Chris Fearne, the MAM have issued a list of trade union directives for tomorrow, Tuesday, the 6th of February, after they failed to reach a breakthrough.
Last week the MAM had said the Government “proceeded with announcing the transfer of a concession from VGH to Steward Healthcare to run the Gozo General Hospital, Karin Grech and St Luke’s hospitals without consultation and agreement.”
The formal notification of the dispute, MAM said, is in view of the breech of the collective agreement as below:
1?Give prior notice of not less than six weeks to MAM whenever it intends to contract any private entity to manage professional medical services at any health care facility providing free health care to the public on behalf of GoM, including outsourced services; and”
“Provided further than any present instances of outsourcing and PPPs, including public health service delivered at the Sites, shall be discussed in specific meetings, to reach a specific detailed agreement in line with the principles established in this section by the end of December 2017.”
21. (a) “GoM shall not, without following the procedure established in clause 1, directly or indirectly privatise the operation of medical services provided in part or in full, which are part of the government funded public health services.”
The MAM also said in its statement today that, “pursuant to the fact that considerable sums in arrears due to health centre doctors for payment for “off days” in public holidays as from 2013 remain unpaid after 6 months of meetings as notified to the CEO on the 30th of January in breech of the collective agreement.
And, “pursuant to the fact that Foundation doctors are currently overloaded with additional work because of the increased need for blood sampling in view of directives issued by another union resulting in a change in working conditions since mid-January.”
MAM said that it is issuing the following directives for tomorrow:
Mater Dei Hospital and peripheral outpatient departments
Doctors in all categories, Consultants, Resident specialists, Higher specialist trainees, basic specialist trainees, General practitioner trainees and foundation doctors.
On Tuesday 6th February none of the above-mentioned category of doctors shall perform any duties at the outpatients department in Mater Dei hospital as well as all other peripheral outpatient clinics in both Malta and Gozo from 8.00am to 4.00 pm, including Karen Grech and Gozo General Hospital.
This shall not apply to clinics at Sir Anthony Mamo, and Maternity clinics. Routine appointments shall all be cancelled and rescheduled.
It is recommended that members should refer all urgent cases to the accident and emergency department for assessment.
There shall be no directives affecting the accident and emergency department, or any of the acute wards with respect to the full provision or an uninterrupted emergency service.
Health centres and district health centres
All Medical practitioners, Principal General Practitioners, Senior General Practitioners, General practitioners, Foundation doctors working at Health centres, or any other medical practitioners working at the Health centres shall
On Tuesday 6th February between 8.00am and 8.00pm
All doctors report to and shall give their services only from the three main health centres, namely Paola, Floriana and Mosta in Malta, and Gozo Victoria Health centres . All scheduled non- urgent appointments shall be rescheduled, and routine repeat prescriptions shall be postponed to other dates.
Doctors shall not report to “district health centres”, and the other smaller health centres, Gzira, Rabat, B’Kara, Qormi and Cospicua.
All walk in, cases needing emergency care shall be seen to. It is recommended that patients are given the benefit of the doubt and seen in such cases.
Services for house calls will be limited to one doctor per health centre using the usual protocol to determine which cases need to be seen
Public Health doctors
All grades of doctor working in public health shall not answer any email or telephone call on Tuesday 6th February.
MAM directive to Foundation doctors.
Pursuant to dispute notified Tuesday 30th January 2018
Pursuant to industrial action ordered to phlebotomists to greatly limit blood sampling from patients
MAM said that it is issuing the following directives to Foundations doctors years one and two. All other grades of doctors shall in no way perform duties normally performed by Foundation doctors.
1. All blood tests ordered by Medical practitioners for patients admitted at Mater Dei hospital to be taken. (even though this is normally not the duty of foundation doctors).
2. No sickness certificates will be issued for discharged patients after 2.30 pm.
3. To facilitate work, no discharge letters, prescriptions or any paper work are to be issued from the discharge lounge. Foundation doctors will only fill in this paperwork, if patients are in a normal ward.
4. Writing of discharge letters, short or long, and any other paperwork such as Schedule Vs, and applications for nonformulary items should only be filled between 8.00am and 2.30pm. After 2.30pm only prescriptions for a three-day supply of medicine will be filled.
5. From 2.30 pm to 8.00am Foundation doctors are only to deal with all urgent matters of a clinical nature and limit their paper work as per point 4. Any bloods ordered in the morning are also to be taken.
6. It will be the prerogative of hospital management and not of the Foundation doctors to decide whether the patient can leave hospital without a discharge letter.
In reaction the Government issued a statement saying that approximately 3,000 patients will be affected by the action at Mater Dei Hospital, and Gozo General Hospital the various health centres throughout Malta and Gozo.
It added that the Ministry of Health “offered a number of solutions to the issues raised by the union, however the MAM decided to go ahead with the industrial action tomorrow.”
The Health Ministry said that it is “prepared to continue discussions with the MAM.” Among the solutions offered today it said, was “a settlement of contracts outside the Sectoral agreement, and how we can successfully work together with the private-public partnership in our hospitals for the benefit of the Maltese patients.”
The Ministry of Health said that is also again offered MAM access to all contracts signed between the Government and VGH.
The Ministry of Health concluded by saying it calls on the MAM that “foremost to safeguard the interests of patients.”