The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Shortage of nurses in elderly homes is a crisis in waiting – Malta Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, 13 January 2022, 10:12 Last update: about 10 days ago

The Care Home Operators Executive Committee within The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, is concerned about the shortage of nurses within care homes and across the health sector.

The Malta Chamber urged the Government to meet the private health care sector to discuss and find solutions that would be beneficial for both the private and public health and care sector.

"To date Malta lost over 600 nurses to the UK.  Moreover, given the rise in number of Covid positive cases, care homes are being stretched to the limit, having staff suffering burn out after almost two long years dealing with the pandemic," the Chamber said in a statement.

The Malta Chamber therefore proposes: More support and full-time staff to be dedicated to the Nursing and Midwifery Council so as to enable it to vet foreign nurses' applications within shorter time frames; Better residency terms and family reunification for foreign nurses and health care workers, a practice that is already being implemented in other European countries; Incentives to attract more local nurses to start or return to the profession.

"It is worth noting that many private care homes do not only cater for private clients, but are also on a Public Private Partnership agreement, relieving the state from cases that would otherwise be taking up beds in state hospitals. Yet they find themselves in a battle with the state as staff is being poached from the private sector instead of recruited otherwise. Last year, The Malta Chamber was in discussions with Government to enable care home operators to extend and renew contracts for third country national nurses within the private sector for up to a 3-year period just like the public sector, and this initiative was taken on board. Similarly, The Malta Chamber is confident that the above three recommendations are also taken on board for the benefit of all senior citizens."

"It is worth noting that care home operators are a business sector caring for the most vulnerable during a pandemic with no financial support provided from July 2020 to date. The only assistance given to care home operators was a one-time grant given to those that had gone on full lockdown during the months of April, May and June of 2020."

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