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Gozo Hospital “barely coping” with providing service to locals – MUMN

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Gozo Hospital "barely coping" with providing service to locals - MUMNThe Nurses and Midwives Union, (MUMN) is celebrating International Nurses Day – commemorated around the world every 12th of May.

It is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is commemorating the day with the slogan `Health For all’.

MUMN President Paul Pace said in a statement that Malta happens to be one of the few countries in the world which has a “free” health care system, accessible by “all the population.”

Gozo General Hospital, he said, “is barely coping with providing services to the local population let alone with Medical Tourism.”

Mr Pace pointed out that “beds in the corridor do occasionally exist in Gozo General Hospital, but are limited due to union directives.

He said that “the health system in Malta and Gozo, which although is providing a very good service, is leaving its toll on the nurses who are the main back bone of the whole health service.”

According to Pace, “the sheer lack of nursing staff in all local health institutions, the inadequate number of student nurses, the exodus from the nursing profession and the poor conditions of the nurses in the wards are just some of the factors which nurses in Malta face on a daily basis.”

Pace said that “to be fair and just, these problems can be found in most countries across the world but this does not justify that this distress is also found locally.”

Paul Pace continued by saying that “it would be unwise for our Government to consider that Gozo General Hospital, Mater Dei Hospital, or Mt. Carmel hospital, the three acute hospitals in Malta and Gozo have sufficient beds to cater for the needs of the population.”

He added that “Malta’s drastic increase in population these last years is not helping at all.” Mr Pace went on to say that “the situation of treating patients in corridors in Mater Dei is now all year-round while in Mount Carmel Hospital there are daily cases of patients being provided a bed in the evening.”

“Is investment in added beds being done in these three hospitals?” asked Paul Pace. “The reply is a big NO. MDH corridors are given names as a cover up of this situation, while MCH is literally falling to pieces due to poor investment over the years,” he added.

Pace said that if one is to analyse Florence Nightingale’s main achievements, one would find the following “The wards were cleaned and basic care was provided by the nurses.”

Most importantly, he said, Nightingale established standards of care, requiring such basic necessities as bathing, clean clothing and dressings, and having adequate food.

He added that attention was given to psychological needs through assistance in writing letters to relatives and through providing educational and recreational activities. Nightingale herself wandered the wards at night, providing support to the patients; this earned her the title of “Lady with the Lamp.”

“Although this outstanding lady lived in the early 1800, one can easily note that what Florence Nightingale achieved is very much still valid to our modern times. In 2019, 75% of the world population in spite of everything have no access or little access to health care, and this leads us to understand why the International Council of Nurses (ICN) slogan is Health for All,” said Mr Pace.

He concluded, “so going back to Florence Nightingale’s achievements in 1821, nurse’s day should all make us reflect …Are the current and future demands on our nurses and the Health Sector in Malta being addressed?”

Photograph: Anthony Zammit

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