Update | MUMN's allegations are unfounded - Gozo Ministry

Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses says Gozo’s General Hospital is an unsafe hospital for patients and has been neglected by the government.

Updated with statement by Ministry of Gozo

The Gozo Ministry has condemned the statement by the MUMN regarding GGH calling it an unjust and irresponsible attack.

“It is an attack filled with falsities simply intended to cause alarm among patients without reason. The services and medical treatment offered in Gozo have increased over the last years reaching and conforming to standards established by Malta’s health sector.

“Apart from this, the government increased the facilities and medical apparatus while improving the infrastructure and hospital environment,” the ministry.

In a statement released this afternoon, the ministry said that refurbishment was continuous to improve the aesthetical and the core of all wards in the hospital.

“The restructuring works have now commenced in the corridors and will continue to the outpatients section,” the ministry said.

Giving an example of improved services, the ministry said that Gozo’s General Hospital “greatly improved” its services with the opening of a new Radiology Department offering Gozitan patients services which were previously only offered in Malta’s hospitals.

“Particular cases include those patients receiving cancer and requiring regular CT scans can now be seen to in Gozo. The hospital will also be offering bone density tests in coming weeks as part of the project,” the ministry said.

This project will be followed by another restructuring project for the operation theatres for which new top quality apparatus has been purchased.

“We have invested heavily in the GGH to improve the services for both patients and hospital staff. While the hospital services are to be increased, the number of nurses will also be increased. Discussions about these issues take place on regular basis,” the ministry said.

In its statement, the Ministry of Gozo hoped to reassure Gozitans that the hospital was continuing to provide these services in the most responsible and professional way “as has always been provided by hospital staff”.

In its statement, the Ministry of Gozo hoped to reassure Gozitans that the hospital was continuing to provide these services in the most responsible and professional way “as has always been provided by hospital staff”.

“We thank all the workers at the hospital for their services given to the patients,” the ministry said.

“While the government boasts spending €1 million daily on Mater Dei Hospital, the Gozo General Hospital (GGH) has no funds to pay nurses to maintain safe care practice and proper standards of care.”

This was said by MUMN President Paul Pace in a statement which went on to compare the service in the GGH to that found in third world countries.

“One nurse in GGH attends to around 20 patients resulting in a service comparable to the third world. Gozitan nurses are doing their best but are unfortunately rendered stressed and frustrated due to the shortage of nursing staff,” Pace said.

Pace said the situation has been worsening as more nurses leave the service and are not replaced.

“To date, there are more than 17 vacant nursing posts. For some reason, restrictions were enforced in overtime for nurses. When overtime was worked, payment was backdated by more than six months,” Pace said.

While the Maltese Government treats Maltese patients with a “state of the art” hospital according to Pace, GGH is a “rat-infested” hospital, with no air exchanges in operation theatres and no proper funding to provide adequate staffing levels.

“While the government is investing hundreds of thousands of Euros on the building of a new oncology service in Malta, a simple service of chemotherapy administration in Gozo is left on the shelf since Gozitan patients are considered second class citizens,” he said.

The MUMN president said that Health Minister Joseph Cassar had recently announced that authorities were still in the process of ‘studying’ the administration of chemotherapy to be done in Gozo for those patients forced to travel on a daily basis to Malta for treatment.  

“The Health Minister is taking Gozitans for a ride since after two years the Minister is still studying and the patients are left to suffer. It is clear that the Ministry of Gozo and Health give in easily when confronted by the medical profession and are not able to come up with an alternative. It is a pity that the politicians are not capable to provide better service so as not to cause any rifts with certain doctors,” Pace said.

Pace explained that MUMN also had to intervene to get funds for the GGH’s air conditioning system which broke down so patients and nurses were “not left in a summer furnace.”

“Between facts and words, the Maltese Government focuses more on the needs of MDH whose running costs are astronomical while the basic needs in GGH are utterly neglected. If no proper staffing levels are provided by 13 July, we will have to consider other alternatives to safeguard patient safety.”

The MUMN said it was appealing to the public to use MDH since it is better funded, is rat-free, “has better staff levels”, offers chemotherapy and has a better air conditioning system.

“MUMN appeals to the public to avoid GGH since the priorities of the Maltese government are on MDH and not on the general hospital in Gozo,” Pace said.

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Min jaqla miljun ewro....x gharukaza. Dawn affarijiet tal misthija u inkwetanti ta veru. Fejnhi GOVANNA? Il-poplu ghandu jarhom dawn l-affarijiet meta jigi biex jivvota, nispera.
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What a disgrace, the government is going bankcrupt, like Greece maybe.
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Tinkwetax Sur Pace. Dalwaqt tara ruxxmata nurses sejrin lejn Ghawdex. Inti taf li qabel kull elezzjoni Santa Giovanna tibda taqla grazzji left, right and centre. Ara x'hemm bzonn ghal-isptar u jigi tibzax. Hemm flus jew le. No worries. bilhaqq hemm Said il-Ganga wkoll. dak nahseb li jaqla l-grazzji wkoll. Imbierek Ghawdex u l-qaddissin kollha tieghu.