Nurses against outsourcing of community care services

Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses says public-private partnerships ‘increase costs and decrease level of care’

MUMN president Paul Pace Photo: Ray Attard
MUMN president Paul Pace Photo: Ray Attard

The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses declared itself against a budgetary proposal putting forward public-private partnerships (PPP) in the community care sector.

Budget 2015 proposes a PPP at the Cospicua health centre, but according to the MUMN, such a PPP would only result in increased costs and decreased level of care services offered.

“The outsourcing of surgical operations was short-lived because the cost per operation was costlier than if the surgery had been carried out at Mater Dei,” MUMN president Paul Pace said.

“A PPP in the community sector does not make sense especially when the Cospicua Health Centre is giving a sterling service to the residents. There are no complaints. Why privatise and increase costs for the taxpayer?”

Nurses reportedly raised a number of issues during a recent MUMN meeting held with the nurses at the Cospicua Health Centre nurses. Nurses raised a number of issues on the impact of the privatisation of the service, including data protection of passwords and use of specific health computer programmes linking to Mater Dei Hospital.

Another issue that arose was that the proposed privatisation plans of the health centre had put on hold new services for blood sampling. Health Centres offer the service of the Anti Coagulant Clinic (ACC), a more efficient service where nurses can take a small blood sample from the ear lobe and the result is instant. At the Cospicua Health Centre, equipped with a specific room and all the necessary equipment, the service has not started.

 “The cost of running the Cospicua Health Centre would greatly increase if privatisation is to occur, not to  mention the nurse's expertise at the Cospicua  Health Centre would all be lost since none of the nurses working in the Primary Care Department are willing to work within the private sector,” Pace said. “It is also a great pity that shadow health minister Claudio Grech has taken PPP at the heart of the PN political agenda without any consultation with stakeholders.”

MUMN warned Grech that he would not find any collaboration from the MUMN if PPP programmes were to remain a driving force behind its political agenda and if the PN were to support the government.

“We urge the government reconsider the PPP programmes.”

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