MUMN orders industrial action at A&E department over ‘unsafe practices’
Industrial action was ordered yesterday morning by the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) for the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at Mater Dei Hospital due to “unsafe practices”.
People who turn up at the A&E Department for treatment will be seen to.
A spokesperson for MUMN said that according to EU standards, the A&E department must be manned by a minimum of 14 senior nurses and six junior nurses.
At present, the spokesperson explained, the Mater Dei A&E department is not meeting these minimum requirements, meaning that junior nurses are required to carry out the work of their senior counterparts.
“Apart from being unfair on the junior nurses who are still training, this also opens up a number of legal risks and amounts to unsafe practices,” the spokesperson said.
According to EU standards, a junior nurse must be trained in a number of different modules, such as how to answer the phone and correct use of triage, for two years before moving up. Once a senior nurse, the person would be able to perform his/her duties alone.
Asked whether patients would be affected by the industrial action, the spokesperson said the directive orders them not carry out any triage work, but that all those who enter the department will be seen to.
In a statement, the Nationalist Party said that once again the government has shown that it does not have the right priorities.
The industrial action confirms that the government is not focusing on improving health services. PN shadow minister for health Claudette Buttigieg called on the government to address the situation.
Discussions from tomorrow
Health Minister Chris Fearne has agreed to hold discussions with the MUMN in a meeting set to take place Monday 3 October, apart from deploying extra nurses.
In a press statement issued yesterday evening, the Health Ministry said: “As was announced earlier this week, the government will be adding 125 nurses to the existing staff as from the coming Monday.
“The Health Ministry confirms that Mater Dei Hospital always placed the emergency department as a top priority, as required, so much so that in the last two years there was an increase of both doctors and nurses so that duties at the department could be carried out better.
“In addition to this, there is also an information system employed to help emergency staff better deliver treatment to patients, in a far more efficient manner than was carried out in the past.
“In fact, today patients are being treated at the emergency department in less than four hours in 85 per cent of the cases.
“Other initiatives have also been employed, such as the deployment of ambulances in Mosta and Paola, as well as an emergency department dedicated to children.”