The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

No commencement of ‘major’ works at Mount Carmel Hospital - MUMN

Rebekah Cilia Thursday, 16 May 2019, 14:58 Last update: about 4 months ago

Works have started in Mount Carmel Hospital but only the initial phase, being carried out by the maintenance people of the hospital, the President of the MUMN told The Malta Independent.

He said he has not seen a contractor set foot in the hospital.

Paul Pace said that the hospital has been neglected for so many years that 75 percent of the wards have a condemned roof. “You cannot change this overnight.”

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All the hospital has been “contaminated” so there is no area where the patients can be transferred while the works are carried out, he noted. “Things are really bad that there is no good part.”

“This has been happening for many years,” Pace said, adding that “that the worst part is that we cannot close more wards down because we are losing beds and there is a shortage of beds. Two of the wards, half of them, are condemned.”

Whilst posting out that he is not an architect, he does doubt the safety of the situation. Pace, however, as an infection control nurse, confirms that it is a dangerous situation because the lack of space has caused beds to placed closer to each other.

The beds are supposed to be one meter away from each other, the President of the MUMN noted, but now they are only a few centimetres apart.

Apart from this, Pace says “it is degrading and de-motivating. You would be shocked if you walked in there now. You would wish you wouldn’t need to stay in there.”

Whilst explaining that the whole hospital cannot be fixed all at once, he said that the two wards, where half of the roof is condemned, need to be dealt with immediately.

“They have made an effort, especially after the media coverage. There will be several contractors rather than having one contractor doing one ward at a time, as was originally planned.”

Pace said that if it would have been one contractor doing one ward at a time, it would have been unacceptable.

“It would have been easy for us, but it would not have been ethical. We could have easily told the nurses that this is not a safe building, you have a family too," he said, adding that “I know there are the patients but no one wants to die because of the administration.”

After ramping up pressure, the union has been given deadlines for getting the two wards started but they are not satisfied yet. They should be coming back to the MUMN with a better date by mid-June.

The first phase should be ready by the end of June but the MUMN is insisting for mid-June, so the contractors can come in to start the “major” works. However, Pace said that “I am not trusting the situation, so if by mid-June we do not see the contractors coming in we are left with no choice.”

When asked if the MUMN will start issuing directives, Pace noted that this is not about directives but was vague about their “other plans”.

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