The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

Doctors threaten closure of clinics, stoppage of outpatients appointments if mass events not banned

Friday, 31 July 2020, 14:28 Last update: about 7 months ago

Doctors have threatened to close 42 community clinics and stop outpatients appointments at Mater Dei Hospital as from Monday if mass events are not banned by the government.

The Medical Association of Malta on Friday published the full list of directives it will be taking as from next Monday if the government continues to refuse to ban mass events amidst a spike in Covid-19 cases.


The government announced new restrictions on mass events on Thursday evening. The restrictions include capacity restrictions, with venues being able to accept only the equivalent of one person for every four square metres, social distancing regulations, and also the banning of feast marches.  Events of over 100 people need to pass a risk assessment form to be held.

The MAM however called them ‘good, but not good enough’ and said that party promoters had "had their way" with politicians and that the directives will not protect the Maltese people.  As a result, they insisted that they will go on with their planned industrial action.

These directives will see the closure of all 42 community clinics and postponement of all Mater Dei outpatient appointments for a period of one week as of Monday.

All elective surgery will be postponed from August 5 to August 12 and she same applies for all elective ultrasounds.

Furthermore, diabetic and medical consultant clinic appointments will be postponed or held by telephone.

All Health Centres will set up a triage desk which will be manned by a doctor at all times, but only urgent cases will be seen at health centres, with non-urgent cases being encouraged to postpone their appointment or call the telemedicine centre.

The same directives apply to the Gozo General Hospital, with outpatients appointments postponed. All patients will be triaged at the Rabat Health Centre. Non urgent appointments will be postponed and patients with symptoms of COVID will be asked to call 111 and get a swab before they are seen. 

Doctors in the accident and emergency department are exempt from the directives. Doctors at the Sir Anthony Mamo oncology centre, Mount Carmel hospital and Karin Grech hospital are all exempt from the directives, as are public health doctors and doctors working in swabbing centres.

The MAM encouraged interested doctors to apply to work some sessions at the swabbing centres to keep up with demand.

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