The Malta Independent 8 April 2020, Wednesday

Nurse calls out MUMN for attempting to ‘take advantage of a delicate situation’

Albert Galea Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 07:05 Last update: about 14 days ago

A Maltese nurse has taken a stand against the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) in a social media post saying that the union is attempting to “take advantage of a delicate situation”.

Bernard Gatt, a staff nurse who works at Mater Dei Hospital, took to social media to decry the latest set of demands made by the MUMN, with his post attracting a significant amount of attention and support from a number of nurses and others in the medical field.

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Last Sunday, in an open letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela, the MUMN proposed that nurses with children 12 years and younger should be given the opportunity to choose a relative to care for their children while they are at work, with that relative being given two months’ paid vacation leave.

Earlier this month, the union also said that nurses would not tend to coronavirus patients unless they were provided with personal protective equipment which covered the body from head to toe.

“My colleagues (consisting of nurses, doctors, nursing aides, carers, emergency ambulance responders, ECG techs, radiographers, lab techs, clerks and last but not least cleaners) and I have been truly at the frontline... we deal with these cases every day,” Gatt wrote.

He said that they had been working closely with isolation wards, which had been understanding and supportive of the situation; “yet, I see this constant bickering and attempts at taking advantage of a delicate situation coming from a few fellow nurses and MUMN representatives.”

“I haven’t seen any representative visit Emergency... yet, I have seen misinformation... scaremongering and blatant disrespect towards our profession,” Gatt said of the MUMN.

He said that the union had issued directives to nurses working in various wards to the detriment of its own members working in the Emergency Department.

“This wasn’t the first time, yet you issue one press release after the other showered in ignorant claims such as wanting cover-alls for all nurses, asking for more money, making it seem as if we’re the only profession that turns the gears of the health care system,” he continued.

Gatt said that he is proud to be a nurse, but notes that he is part of a team which is what makes them the success they are.

“We don’t work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as you have so arrogantly said. We’re not asking for more money and making bogus claims. We have been working our asses off together with our colleagues without batting an eyelid and moving on. Therefore, I say: HOW DARE YOU?!” he wrote.

Gatt turned to the MUMN’s demands on personal protective equipment (PPE), noting that they are following guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and that nurses do not need PPEs if they do not work in an area where there is a risk of there being coronavirus patients.

“Whatever MUMN is saying, it’s #notinmyname,” he said.

Gatt’s post was shared on social media over 100 times, with a number of nurses sharing the post with the same #notinmyname hashtag.

One of those who shared the post is former Mater Dei Hospital CEO Ivan Falzon, who praised Gatt and those following his lead.

“These are our real professional heroes. People who will not threaten, ask for more, try to disrupt, and who do what is right and their duty. My experience in the field tells me that the vast majority of our frontliners are silent warriors, true professionals who will go beyond their line of duty to touch lives and make a positive difference. Shine on, you diamonds, shine on,” he wrote.

“Then there are the exceptions – revolting,” he added at the end of his post.

 

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