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Hospital security officers ‘taking too long to act’

Medical staff having to deal with rowdy patients or visitors

In the past, security personnel at Mater Dei Hospital came under fire for not acting swiftly enough. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

In the past, security personnel at Mater Dei Hospital came under fire for not acting swiftly enough. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Security personnel at Mater Dei Hospital took their time to respond to nurses’ calls for assistance, forcing medical staff to deal with rowdy patients or visitors themselves.

In a recent incident, nurses in one ward had to deal with aggressive and misbehaving relatives and friends of a patient.

When the security officers finally arrived they did very little to control the situation, hospital sources said. They said such situations were not uncommon.

Malta Union for Nurses and Midwives general secretary Colin Galea said  that though there had not been any formal reports to the union on such issues in recent weeks, there were instances when security personnel did not always show up at wards immediately.

Mr Galea pointed out that when patients or visitors were hostile or aggressive, nurses should not take any action themselves but rather, should always call for assistance.

“This is what we have agreed upon. Nurses cannot reprimand visitors themselves but should call the people tasked with ensuring security rules are adhered to,” Mr Galea said.

He pointed out that such arrangements were necessary to ensure patients received the best possible care and that issues with visitors would not negatively impact them in any way.

In the past, security personnel at the hospital came under fire for not acting swiftly enough, resulting at times in attacks on medical staff. The union has long been calling for stricter policies protecting staff from aggression by patients or visitors.

claire.caruana@timesofmalta.com

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