PN concerned over elderly man's disappearance from government home

Nationalist Party says government should act immediately to ensure the necessary steps are taken to guarantee the disappearance of 83-year-old does not happen again

The St. Vincent de Paule residence for the elderly in Marsa
The St. Vincent de Paule residence for the elderly in Marsa

The Nationalist Party has called on government to ensure the disappearance of an 83-year-old man from St Vincent de Paule residence does not repeat itself.

“It is the government’s obligation to ensure the country’s elderly persons are being given the best protection, attention and care,” active ageing spokesperson Paula Mifsud Bonnici said.

An internal investigation is underway into the disappearance of 83-year-old Karmenu Fino, last seen in Luqa after leaving the SVDP residence on Tuesday. The internal investigation will be led by retired Judge Geoffrey Valenzia.

In a press conference on Thursday morning, nurses’ union MUMN said the ward hosting 35 patients had to be manned by a minimum of two nurses.

“Due to a chronic lack of nurses, which MUMN has been protesting with the authorities for years on end, on the day of the incident only one nurse – from the reliever pool, and not a nurse who habitually works in this ward – was assigned to this ward,” MUMN boss Paul Pace said.

The PN said government should act immediately and take all the necessary steps in light of the disappearance.

“It is of concern and disgrace that one nurse was on patrol with an entire ward full of elderly patients at the St Vincent de Paule residence,” the statement read. “Why didn't the authorities immediately say that the lost person was residing in St Vincent de Paule?”

The party said investigations into the case would be useless if claims by the union are true. Paul Pace warned that the SVDP management would expectedly take disciplinary action against the one nurse on duty, mocking it as “a favourite ploy” instead of taking remedial measures to address endemic problems of staffing.

“This shortage of nurses, which has time and time again led to the institution of judicial procedures both of a criminal as well as of a civil nature against nurses personally, for failures which are management failures, has spurred MUMN to initiate industrial action intended to jolt the authorities to take the necessary action to effectively remedy the situation,” he said.