The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Surgery patients turned away from Mater Dei

Malta Independent Friday, 13 December 2013, 10:00 Last update: about 9 years ago

Patients who turned up at Mater Dei Hospital yesterday morning, as had been planned for months before, only to learn that the operation they were meant to undergo had been postponed, and other patients who were informed only minutes before they arrived at hospital, said that it is not only frustrating to be advised late in the day but even worse, having to wait anxiously to be given a new appointment.

Relatives of patients speaking to this newspaper, who were planning to turn up at Mater Dei Hopital yesterday to undergo an operation, as planned, said that they were informed only minutes prior to them arriving at the hospital that the hospital CEO had released a directive the day before that surgeries have been postponed.

“At 9.45 a.m. we were getting into the car and received a phone call from a hospital operator.

“The operator said that she was calling from Mater Dei; my first reaction was to tell her that we were about to leave our house and were soon to arrive there but at that very moment she intervened and said that we need not leave since the hospital’s CEO had cancelled all surgeries.

“The operation was scheduled for 10.30 a.m.

“Later we found out that she meant ‘minor’ surgeries,” the source said.

“My wife’s operation was scheduled a few weeks ago and follow-up tests were to be carried out to ensure my wife’s health is fine.

“Unfortunately, being advised 15 minutes before you are due in hospital is quite frustrating and who decided that my wife’s surgery is minor if follow-up tests have to be carried out to rule out cancer?

“Now that the operation has been cancelled, and we were anxious to know the results of the biopsy, we are going to have to sit and wait until the issue is solved and the directive cancelled,” the source said.

On Wednesday, this newspaper reported that non-essential surgery at Mater Dei Hospital has been postponed due to overcrowding of patients. Later on in the day, Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia rejected claims made by unions that patients’ lives are at risk. 

Sources told this newspaper that the hospital’s CEO issued an internal e-mail, informing staff that any non-essential surgery will not be performed due to the overcrowding situation, an issue Mater Dei has been facing for quite a while now, not only during this legislature but even during the previous one. The difference is that a directive of this sort has never been issued before.

Emergency surgery and life-saving operations will still be performed.

A surge in admissions at the hospital is the reason for the hospital’s management to have taken the decision to postpone certain operations.

Meanwhile, on a separate note, hospital sources speaking to this newspaper said that at present, the hospital was operating with the bare minimum of receptionist staff along with a lack of resources, such as computers.

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