Union demands say in migration plan
Unless nurses start being involved in the process leading to the opening of Mater Dei Hospital, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) would on migration day direct its members to keep calling for work at St Luke's Hospital.
MUMN president Rudolph Cini told a news conference yesterday that nurses and midwives were not being given the importance they deserved in the process leading to the opening of the new hospital.
The union was only presented with the migration plan recently after the plan was made public on television by the Medical Association of Malta. Union requests to see the plan were turned down, Mr Cini said.
The union president claimed that because of a lack of planning, the area earmarked as a child- minding facility was to be used for other purposes.
This was in contrast with the government's commitment to family-friendly measures.
Another change from that promised was staff accessibility to the dining areas. Although the health authorities had insisted on a team concept, it seemed there would be a dining area for first-class workers and another for second-class workers.
The union could not remain passive and as opening day gets closer, only one meeting has so far been held, Mr Cini said. This contrasted sharply with what was going on with a category of other professionals with whom regular meetings were being held.
The union expressed its disappointment at learning of the plans to move the services offered at Zammit Clapp Hospital during the signing of the collective agreement between the union and the hospital. Due to the changes being made, many more nurses would be needed.
With the new services being introduced, Mater Dei would need an additional 100 nurses and if Zammit Clapp were to be moved to St Luke's, an additional 70 nurses would be required.
Moreover, if the number of patients at St Vincent de Paul were increased, more nurses would be needed there as well.
The union appealed to the government to include the representatives of nurses and midwives in the negotiations. Talks should start immediately and no changes from the original plans should be made unless these were agreed with the union, Mr Cini added.
The union said it had been suspecting for a long time that Mater Dei would be just a change of address where bad and classist practices prevailed. This meant patients would not benefit from more modern care and would just have a state-of-the-art environment.
The union expressed the hope that good sense would prevail and the health authorities would realise the MUMN's role and give the necessary space for negotiations to avoid confrontation.
According to Mr Cini, after the news conference was announced the authorities approached the union saying discussions should be held to find solutions to outstanding matters.