Patients wait for hours at health centre in Mosta
Centre includes operating theatre to alleviate pressure from Mater Dei
Patients visiting the Mosta Health Centre are being forced to wait for hours to receive treatment, with many sitting in the waiting room for over four hours.
Seated in a packed waiting room, patients expected to be treated by a general practitioner complained of having to wait for hours, insisting the process was too slow.
Those requiring treatment that is not deemed urgent are handed a ticket with a number and are asked to wait for their turn.
The ticketing system in place has two queues, one for the normal GP visits and one for treatment room cases that require earlier attention such as nebuliser treatment and stitches.
On Monday, patients who walked into the clinic at around 1pm had still not been treated at around 5.30pm.
“I’ve been sitting here for hours and there seems to be no end in sight as there are still more people ahead of me,” one patient said.
Others simply gave up after a couple of hours of waiting, walking out of the clinic before they received any treatment.
The health centre underwent extensive refurbishment in 2013 with state-of-the-art equipment installed.
The centre also includes an operating theatre which was built as part of efforts to alleviate pressure from the emergency room at Mater Dei Hospital.
In an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta last month, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the waiting time at the hospital’s emergency had been cut down to some two hours, down from some 13 hours in previous years.
He said that this was achieved by increasing the number of doctors and nurses, adding more cubicles as well as by improving IT systems.
Mr Fearne also confirmed that more people were visiting health centres instead of the hospital yet admitted work at the centres was still needed.
Contacted about the lengthy waiting times, a Health Ministry spokeswoman told Times of Malta that attendances at walk-in clinics were “up to a certain extent unpredictable”.
"Easter Monday was a particularly busy day for the Mosta Health centre where our GPs had to attend to nearly 200 clinical encounters between 8am and 1pm and to 42 patients between 1pm and 5pm," she said.
On that particular day, there were 10 doctors attending to patients, she added.