Pharmacists Lift Industrial Action While Doctors Brace Themselves For More Strikes

One fire in the health system has been put out, but another one is still burning...

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Services at public healthcare pharmacies have returned to normal, bringing to close an industrial dispute which the Union Ħaddiema Maghqudin (UĦM) had first ordered last month. 

The UĦM ordered directives to pressure the government to offer higher salaries, more training opportunities and a vision for the pharmacy sector in its new collective agreement. As part of the directives, state pharmacies opened an hour late and closed two hours early, Schedule V cards (karta s-safra) weren’t processed and hospital wards were only given medicine stocks for three days in advance. 

However, health minister Chris Fearne confirmed this morning on Twitter that UHM has lifted the directives and that services at pharmacies under the Pharmacy Of Your Choice scheme have returned to normal. 

As one fire in the health sector has been put out, another one - a dispute between doctors and the government - shows no signs of slowing down. The Malta Medical Association (MAM) yesterday met the government to discuss their concerns over the sale of a concession for three hospitals from Vitals Global Healthcare to US healthcare giant Steward Health Care. Both MAM and Fearne said progress was made on some issues, but not enough to avoid a fresh round of doctors’ strikes - scheduled for Thursday and Friday. 

READ NEXT: This Is The Real Reason Why Doctors Went On Strike For The First Time In Nine Years

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Tim Diacono

Tim Diacono tends to clam up when asked to describe himself. You can contact him on [email protected]