MAM press release as reported in - 28/2/2005

MAM set to issue directives

The overcrowding problem at St Luke’s hospital is now close to critical levels with very limited space for patients, the Medical Association of Malta said yesterday. The hospital has actually run out of corridor space.

The authorities’ efforts to quickly shift a small minority of the 70 social cases which chronically block beds as well as the taking over of surgical and gynaecological wards can only be described as “too little and too late” and just late patching up of a problem which has been there for years, it added.

As doctors and other staff do their best to cope with such a situation, a large number of doctors have not been given their deserved appointments. Indeed, another six doctors, all with considerable experience, have decided to leave for the UK. The shortage of doctors coupled with the increased number of patients is certainly not helping to achieve optimal patient care.

It is simply illogical to freeze the appointments of doctors, at a time when there is such a severe medical manpower shortfall, just to save a few thousand liri. This is resulting in numerous trained doctors leaving the island, MAM added.

Despite repeated promises over the last months, these doctors have still not yet been appointed.

MAM council approved a number of directives, in the event that the need should arise, to resort to industrial action in order to persuade the health authorities to take simple but practical decisions.

Time is simply running out, it concluded.

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