There has been no sign of an increase in GU clinic staff and resources despite the Health Ministry’s promise to double personnel by September 2019.
With just five full-time staffers to cater for Malta and Gozo, the Mater Dei clinic, which specialises in sexual health services, is under considerable stress in terms of resources, with waiting times for appointments usually taking months.
Following an episode of Lovin Malta’s Kaxxaturi, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne promised to increase the number of staffers at the GU Clinic to 10. However, Lovin Malta is informed that, six months down the line, there are still just five full-time staffers at the GU clinic, including two doctors and a single clerk.
Sources said that the understaffing issue is still so pertinent that if the clerk cannot come in for work, nurses have to double up and take over the clerical work too.
Understandably, staff feel like their needs to work efficiently are being ignored.
Upon visiting the clinic in Mater Dei, Lovin Malta found that despite a fairly low queue for sexual health testings, the lack of staff meant the waiting time was over an hour.
A source from within the clinic has also commented on the increased stress on resources due to an increasing population. More people means more cases of sexually transmitted diseases to be treated, with some needed prolonged treatment.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said they are too busy handling the coronavirus to answer questions about the state of GU Clinic. However, the issue was meant to be tackled last September, giving some indication of the importance of sexual health to the government.
At present, 5,684 people visit the GU Clinic per year. While the number is a significant improvement over previous years, it’s still far short of ideal when taking into the account the number of sexually active people in the country.