The Malta Independent 25 June 2022, Saturday

MUMN declares industrial dispute at Mt Carmel; says nurse shortage led to patient escaping

Wednesday, 1 June 2016, 14:04 Last update: about 7 years ago

The Malta Union of Midwives & Nurses declared an industrial dispute with the Health Department over Mt Carmel hospital today, claiming that a nursing shortage led to the escape of a patient a few days ago.

The MUMN corresponded with the Health Ministry today and strongly protested against decisions being taken by the Health Department on Mt Carmel Hospital.

The MUMN complained about the lack of nurses at Mt Carmel, stressing that there aren't enough nurses to look after the patients, "and worse than that, there are too few nurses to keep a constant watch over those patients who, Psychiatrists decide, require such special attention".

"This means that instead of having three nurses on constant watch with three patients, there is one nurse for three patients, with all the consequences including unsafe practices".

"The last case occurred a few days ago, where a nurse was looking after three patients, and while the nurse went to check on one, the other escaped from the hospital. This resulted in a magisterial investigation and an inquiry by the inquiry board".

The MUMN has been informed by its members about a new procedure during the investigations board related to this case. "Nurses will be required to take an oath before they testify to what occurred. This action shows a clear trust in the nurses by the Department of Health, given that the nurses already wrote nursing reports and incident reports relating to the case".

"Over the past days, Mt Carmel nurses were told to do the work of porters, by staying by the doors, opening them and closing them for all those who enter and exit, given that the keys given to certain employees were taken, without a new procedure allowing nurses to focus their attention on patients being introduced".

Another new procedure "imposed on the nurses over the past days shows that nurses were ordered to fill out audits related to work which falls under the responsibility of other professionals, regarding first level constant watch and treatment orders. The MUMN cannot accept nurses taking responsibility for others and Management should have the courage to hire someone to do this work".

As such, the MUMN has declared an industrial dispute with the Health Department over Mt Carmel Hospital, and with immediate effect, issued the following directives: No nurse should take an oath before the investigation board, no nurse should open and close the main hall door for workers who, up until a few days ago had a key, no nurse must fill out a form  related to first level constant watches or treatment orders which are meant to be filled out by other professionals.

The MUMN said it is considering other actions.

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