Government will place long-term care patients in private hospitals

Health minister Godfrey Farrugia admits Mater Dei is overcrowded but vows government has a plan.

File photo shows Godfrey Farrugia (centre)
File photo shows Godfrey Farrugia (centre)

Over the weekend, Mater Dei Hospital was overwhelmed with patients, but the government has a plan to increase beds at the hospital, health minister Godfrey Farrugia said today.

The minister said 70 long-term care patients were occupying beds at Mater Dei Hospital because these patients have nowhere to go.

Another 58 patients at MDH were waiting to transferred to the rehabilitation centre at St Luke's Hospital, which is also packed because 120 patients are waiting to be transferred to homes for elderly care.

The overcrowding and patients needing long-term care occupying beds at MDH had now caused 17 minor operations to be postponed by a week or two, Farrugia confirmed.

But Farrugia denied claims made by nurses' union MUMN that patients were facing great risks because of the overcrowding at Mater Dei.

"The situation is far from ideal but government has a plan. Mater Dei houses fewer beds for acute and specialised care than the country requires and the country is also facing a shortage of long-term care beds for the elderly," Farruia said.

The minister said that over and above the 50 new beds added at Mater Dei this year, the government will create 56 new beds in 2014 and a further 68 new beds in 2015.

By July 2014, 300 new spaces for patients needing long-term care will be created in cooperation with privately-owned elderly homes.

No more than necessary taxpayers' monies should be used for this temporary placing. Far better productivity should be obtained from ALL the personnel at Mater Dei. It would be very easy to follow the Gonzi way, and recklessly splurge out far to come by funds thus burdening present and future generations. Effective use of professional hours must be the key to this problem. Nothing else, Minister Farrugia!!