Widespread distribution is being reported across all of Malta state hospitals, with surgeries in Gozo allegedly grinding to halt, as the industrial action initiated by 700 health professionals continues into its third day.
Sources have also put forward allegations of malpractice within the state hospitals after they were informed that nurses were conducting tests normally reserved for biomedical scientists, who form part of the industrial action.
A series of meetings have taken place with authorities since the action began. However, they are yet to reach any form of agreement with sources describing these sessions as “delaying tactics” from the government.
Another urgent meeting is taking place at the moment. It is as yet unclear what the results will be.
Sources within the hospital have described the disruption caused by the strike, with a number of senior officials unhopeful that an agreement will be reached.
Over 700 health professionals launched industrial action two days ago, after continued delays to recognise Allied Health Professionals as part of UHM, which would allow them to open negotiations for a collective agreement that expired over two years ago.
Allied Health Professionals is made up of a 1000-strong group of podiatrists, biomedical scientists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, radiographers, physiotherapists, audiologists, dental hygienists, and dental technologists.
The directives issued are wide-ranging, given the diverse fields that form part of the prospective union.
Telephone, emails, and messages will not be replied to by the staff; while high-risk community patients will only be seen at Mater Dei hospital.
Routine appointments, the scheduling of new appointments, and paperwork, whether that’s from the podiatrists to occupational therapists, will not be completed, unless the case is considered high-risk.
The radiography department, who notably oversee X-rays and MRI scans, will be limited to the health centres in Paola, Ħamrun and Floriana, and outpatients.