Nurses’ union industrial directives to commence on Thursday

The Health Ministry said it is ‘hopeful’ an agreement will be reached

The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses announced it will go ahead with industrial directives
The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses announced it will go ahead with industrial directives

All nurses will be following industrial directives as of next Thursday, the Malta Union of Nurses and Midwives said, as attempts at reaching an agreement with the government have so far been unsuccessful.

The directives, which were put on hold earlier this month, are set to go ahead next week after prior negotiations with the government failed to yield any results.

The nurses will be following the directives until a satisfactory final sectoral agreement is reached, as the Union said that the directives will only be suspended whenever a meeting is called.

The decision to go ahead with the action came about after discussions on the early retirement scheme were scrapped, the Union claimed,and due to the fact that allowances for nurses are still very low. The Union said that the structure of salary grades for nurses is also yet to be addressed properly.

The Health Ministry said that it is hopeful that an agreement can be reached between the government and the MUMN.

All members of the union, including nurses and midwives working in the Emergency and Outpatients Department in Mater Dei, as well as Paul Boffa Hospital, public health centres, Sir Anthony Mamo Hospital, Gozo General Hospital, Gozo Health Centre, Mount Carmel Hospital, St Vincent de Paule, Endoscopy Unit and all operating theatres.

The government is “insensitive” to the plight of nurses and the state in which they are in, the Union said, adding that there is a shortage of about 500 nurses in the public sector. It also insisted that the “alarming” shortage of nurses is having a negative impact on patients. 

As a consequence of the shortage, patients from Mount Carmel are escaping and risking their health, the Union said, and that nurses are often assigned three patients each at ITU – where there should only be one patient per nurse.

Due to a lack of nurses in operating theatres, operations are often being cancelled, and in only one nurse is left in charge of around 40 patients in the evenings at St Vincent de Paule, the Union said.

The Union also said that they will not be elaborating further on the issues in order to avoid alarming the public.