The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Hospital appointments cancelled as unions wrangle over recognition

Thursday, 12 September 2019, 16:57 Last update: about 9 days ago

Patients with appointments for a number of medical services, including blood tests, x-rays and pre-op investigations are being affected by industrial action taken by Allied Healthcare Professionals in an issue related to union recognition.

UHM – Voice of the Workers has issued over 200 directives for AHPs at Mater Dei Hospital and health centres. The union says the government has failed to give it official recognition after a verification exercise confirmed that UHM represents 58% of AHPs.

There ten categories of healthcare workers affected, including radiographers and physiotherapists.

While UHM says it represents the majority of Allied Healthcare Professionals and wants recognition for the entire group, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses wants recognition for physiotherapists, who are also AHPs.

There are 282 physiotherapists, of which 169 are MUMN members. The latter says it wants recognition for physios to be able to negotiate a new collective agreement for them.

UHM says there are 1,093 AHPs, of which 635 are its own members. MUMN only represents 15% of the total group, it said. It says the nine groups of professionals have always had one collective agreement.

UHM CEO Josef Vella told Times of Malta that the directives could lead to the cancellation of operations. He also warned that, if the deadlock is not broken the directives could be extended to other sectors.

This newsroom understands that urgent cases are still being seen to.

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