The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

MUMN prepared to call a nurse strike if charges against nurse are not dropped

Semira Abbas Shalan Wednesday, 11 May 2022, 09:43 Last update: about 5 days ago

The Malta Union of Midwives and Teachers is prepared to call a strike among nurses if the charges against a Mount Carmel Hospital (MCH) nurse over unprofessional conduct in 2017 and MCH manager Joseph Pace, are not dropped immediately, President of the union Paul Pace told The Malta Independent.

Speaking to this newsroom on Tuesday, Pace said that directives will be issued by the MUMN should the situation of the charges against the two nurses remain unchanged.

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The case involves a patient who had been ordered to have constant one-to-one supervision.  

Due to the overwhelming staff shortages nurses are experiencing, there was no staff was available in MCH to conduct this supervision, and management could not provide such supervision.

As a result of lack of supervision, the patient cut himself, losing great amounts of blood. The patient was immediately saved by a number of nurses, including Joseph Pace himself.

The nurse, however, is still being charged with criminal misconduct after a patient who should be under constant watch hurt himself when no nurse or carer was available.

“Nurses cannot continue to be painted as criminals after doing their jobs against all odds for something which is beyond our responsibility,” Pace said. “What happened to Pace can happen to any other nurse, and we do not have the protection from the government for things we are not responsible for,” Pace said, referring to the lack of nurses in the workforce.

He said that the accused nurse could face serious consequences if he is brought before the courts, even risking being interdicted.

Pace said that he has personally written to the Health Minister in 2019, when fellow nurses were being interrogated at the time. This however resulted in inaction from the government side, as Pace said that the minister did not intervene.

When asked, Pace said that harsh directives are on the table, and the union will not hesitate to call a strike.

Pace spoke at the press conference for the annual International Day of Nurses and Midwives where he expressed the need for action to help alleviate the burden of staff shortages. A sectoral agreement will be up for discussion with the government with a number of proposals which better the working conditions for nurses and midwives.

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