No ac­cep­tance let­ter yet for nurs­ing coun­cil ‘elected’ can­di­dates pend­ing in­quiry

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Helena Grech

In­formed sources close to the Health Min­istry said that the three can­di­dates who were sup­pos­edly “elected” to form the Nurses and Mid­wives Coun­cil have not been for­mally ac­knowl­edged of their “vic­tory”, pend­ing the results of an in­quiry into the vot­ing pro­ce­dure.

The Gov­ern­ment Gazette, on the other hand, has pub­lished the names of the elected can­di­dates.

A ju­di­cial protest claim­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the elec­tion was filed by two of the five can­di­dates con­test­ing the elec­tion, who flagged “ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties” in the vot­ing pro­ce­dures.

“Ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties” laid out in the protest mainly re­late to what ap­peared to be two sets of vot­ing doc­u­ments and the fact that two ink spots could be seen on a large num­ber of votes in the ex­act same po­si­tion, in­di­cat­ing that pho­to­copies had been made.

It was also con­firmed by the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion - specif­i­cally set up for this elec­tion, not the once con­sti­tu­tion­ally es­tab­lished en­tity to over­see gen­eral elec­tions - that a num­ber of the bal­lot pa­pers had a pho­to­copied stamp of the Coun­cil for Nurses and Mid­wives – which in it­self “cor­rupts the elec­toral process in ques­tion,” the ju­di­cial protest claimed.

Fol­low­ing the ju­di­cial protest, Health Min­is­ter Chris Fearne an­nounced the launch of an in­quiry into the al­le­ga­tions put for­ward.

An open let­ter signed by the can­di­dates who filed the protest, Maria Cas­sar and Corinne Ward, asked the min­istry not to pub­lish or en­dorse the results of the elec­tion un­til the out­come of the in­quiry. The coun­cil passed on the results to the gov­ern­ment re­gard­less, and the 2 Septem­ber is­sue of the Gov­ern­ment Gazzette stated that the win­ners were Ge­of­frey As­ciak, Alexan­der Manche and Alexan­der Lau­tier.

Min­is­ter Fearne has been

quoted say­ing that the coun­cil was au­ton­o­mous from the Health Min­istry, and that it was up to the coun­cil to pub­lish the results.

The Nurses and Mid­wives Coun­cil is re­spon­si­ble for the pro­cess­ing of new nurses and mid­wives, as stated by the Min­is­ter of Health on­line page:

“For a per­son to be able to prac­tice as a nurse in Malta, first he/she needs to sub­mit the rel­a­tive ap­pli­ca­tion sup­ported by the doc­u­ments as re­quested by the Coun­cil for Nurses and Mid­wives and, if ap­proved by the Coun­cil, have his/her name en­tered in one of the Reg­is­ters of Nurses held by the Coun­cil for Nurses and Mid­wives. “

It there­fore re­mains un­clear whether any more nurses or mid­wives have been ap­proved since the ju­di­cial protest was filed, and an in­quiry was called in the first week of Septem­ber.

In the past few days, var­i­ous me­dia re­ports stated that, con­trary to the norm, the gov­ern­ment would not be em­ploy­ing all 160 nurs­ing grad­u­ates, and only had enough in the state cof­fers to hire 100. Fol­low­ing a se­ries of com­plaints by par­ents of the grad­u­ates, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, the gov­ern­ment then said it would be em­ploy­ing all 160 grad­u­ates.

In June, the Malta Union of Mid­wives and Nurses filed an in­dus­trial dis­pute with the Health Min­istry due to a short­age of nurses at Mt Carmel Hos­pi­tal, and the level of su­per­vi­sion be­ing de­manded – es­pe­cially for pa­tients at risk of harm­ing them­selves – meant that nurs­ing staff were be­ing stretched too thinly.

In light of this, it would seem pru­dent for the pro­cess­ing of ap­pli­ca­tions and the ad­mit­ting of new nurses to the reg­istry is im­por­tant for the smooth day-to­day run­ning of pub­lic sec­tor nurses. Cur­rently, three mem­bers of the Nurses and Mid­wives Coun­cil have yet to be for­mally ac­knowl­edged and ap­pointed to the board due to the al­le­ga­tions about the vot­ing pro­ce­dure ac­cord­ing to in­formed sources – how­ever it is as yet un­clear whether ap­pli­ca­tions are be­ing pro­cessed ir­re­spec­tive of this, or whether ma­jor dis­rup­tions are be­ing caused.

In ad­di­tion to this, the coun­cil is also re­spon­si­ble for the over­see­ing of train­ing and the re­view­ing of nurs­ing pro­grammes and is in charge of dol­ing out dis­ci­plinary ac­tion when­ever a com­plaint is filed or wrong­do­ing is re­ported.

It is also un­clear whether the re­main­der of the Coun­cil’s tasks are be­ing car­ried out – how­ever in­formed sources have re­vealed that since the vote took place, there have been no fur­ther Coun­cil meet­ings.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.