Doctors around Malta are all set to go on strike tomorrow in protest at the secrecy surrounding the impending transfer of the St Luke’s, Gozo and Karin Grech Hospitals from Vitals Global Healthcare to US healthcare giant Steward Health Care.
The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) said it will meet Health Minister Chris Fearne today in a last-ditch attempt reach common ground, but that “in all probability” the strike will proceed tomorrow as planned.
The MAM is demanding the government stop the impending sale to Steward and instead re-nationalise the three hospitals. However, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has insisted that private investment is necessary to upgrade the three old buildings into world-class hospitals and to keep the national health service sustainable.
Vitals co-owner Ram Tumuluri (left) with health minister Chris Fearne
The strike details are as follows:
–All doctors at the outpatients’ departments at Mater Dei, Karin Grech and the Gozo hospitals and at all outpatients clinics across the country will go on strike between 8am and 4pm. All non-urgent appointments will be rescheduled.
-Doctors will not report to work at the health centres except the ones in Paola, Floriana, Mosta and Rabat (Gozo) will close between 8am and 8pm. All non-urgent appointments will be rescheduled.
-Doctors shall not report to “district health centres”, and the other smaller health centres, Gzira, Rabat, Birkirkara, Msida and Cospicua.
-All ward doctors at Mater Dei will be on work to rule, meaning they will not work more than the bare minimum required by their contract.
-All doctors in administrative duties will not answer the phone or respond to emails all day.
-No medical certificates will be issued at Mater Dei after 2:30pm, and the discharge lounge will not issue any discharge letters or other documents, except for prescriptions for a minimum three-day supply of medicine. Foundation doctors will only fill in paper work for patients in regular wards.
These directives won’t apply to the maternity clinic, the oncology hospital and the emergency department.