Emergency admissions get priority over surgery patients
Patients scheduled for surgery not considered to be an emergency may have their operation postponed due to nurses' industrial action.
The nurses' union yesterday ordered members to give priority to patients admitted to hospital through the emergency department over those scheduled for surgery.
"Patients who are seen at the emergency department and need to be admitted to hospital are sometimes spending hours if not more than a day in a bed at Casualty because there are not enough available beds in wards," the president of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses, Paul Pace said. This, he insisted, stemmed from the hospital authorities' lack of planning when they did not ensure there were enough beds for those scheduled for surgery, leaving space for emergencies that could crop up.
"We need to have enough vacant beds to ensure any emergencies are catered for and not leave patients waiting for hours on end for an available bed," he said.
He said priority should always be given to those admitted for an emergency and it was only if there were more beds available that other patients could be admitted.
Mr Pace said the hospital authorities admitted people and then tried to see where to put them rather than plan in advance.
He insisted patients requiring emergency treatment would not be affected by industrial action.
Last May, the union ordered widespread industrial action, including calling on nurses not to accept patients awaiting surgery if there were no beds available.
Questions sent to the Health Parliamentary Secretary remained unanswered by the time of writing.