Gozitan patients ‘forced by consultants’ to receive chemotherapy in Malta

Nurses union urges Health Minister to investigate ‘hijacking of service’

Although the Gozo General Hospital is equipped with a chemotherapy facility, a number of consultants are still requesting patients to cross over to Malta for their treatment, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said.

According to MUMN president Paul Pace, “certain consultants were purposely not allowing their patients to be treated in Gozo”, forcing patients to travel between the two islands irrespective of weather conditions.

Pace called on the health ministry to investigate the matter.

In a statement, the MUMN explained that the Gozo General Hospital was equipped with a state of the art facility for chemotherapy administration. Trained medical doctors and nurses specialised in the administration of chemotherapy were also employed. In most cases, the nurses administer the treatment while doctors become involved in remote cases where complications might occur.

“Yet, Gozitan patients are still ordered to travel to Boffa Hospital by certain oncology consultants even though such travelling is literally a nightmare to such weak and vulnerable patients.

“Some of these patients even have to book hotel rooms in Malta after their treatment because they would be too tired to travel. Others simply refuse the treatment due to rough seas.”

Pace said the nurses’ union was approached by a number of patients who are urging the authorities to address the matter.

“While MUMN recognises that certain chemotherapy still has to be given in Boffa Hospital due to the short span of time which certain chemotherapy drugs can have on preparation, the vast majority of chemotherapy drugs can be given by the trained nurses at GGH,” Pace said.

“MUMN is aware that certain consultants are purposely not allowing their patients to be treated in Gozo, knowing well enough that Gozo’s hospital can give such treatment. This scaremongering and hard headedness of certain consultants is causing great suffering to patients.”

Pace accused the chairman of the Oncology Department of “appeasing” consultants, who was informed by MUMN that hardly any new patients were being referred to the hospital’s facility.

“The situation has deteriorated to the point that the investment at the GGH has been rendered superfluous as hardly any new patients are being referred to the hospital’s facility, because of hidden agendas by certain  consultants.”

He added that MUMN was ready to publish facts and figures if such human suffering persisted.

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