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MAM press release in Media - 30/8/2006

link to The Independent

Malta Independent
Health Division ‘burying their heads in the sand’ – MAM
by BERNARD BUSUTTIL


The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) said that the new admissions medical unit at St Luke’s Hospital, originally intended to open on Monday, may pose a threat to patients’ safety.

MAM also said that consultants and other doctors were not adequately consulted on the matter, and challenged the Heath Division “to state how many meetings were held with the medical consultants and other doctors to discuss the medical admissions unit.”

In reaction to a press conference addressed by the hospital management last Monday, MAM general secretary Martin Balzan accused the Health Division of not seeking its advice and ignoring the changes that would affect doctors’ workload and patient safety.

In a press statement issued yesterday, Dr Balzan added that the “fast track” policy that the division is trying to implement would reduce the stay of only a handful of patients from four to three days, while “the mean stay at the hospital is of 4.5 days, one of the lowest in the world.”

He said that the opening of the new unit would increase doctors’ workload because “all patients in casualty need to be assessed as to whether they qualify to enter into the new admissions ward”, and also that “more patient reviews are necessary to affect the increased number of patient transfers.” Furthermore, the statement added that “fast tracking implies frequent reviews by more senior doctors.”

While it was possible to deploy additional non-medical staff to run the unit, Dr Balzan argues that the same cannot be done with doctors as there is a “serious manpower shortage” at St Luke’s. To this end, MAM said that it cannot “guarantee patient safety in all medical wards should the Medical Admissions Unit start operations with the current staff complement.”

Dr Balzan accused health authorities of “burying their heads in the sand and pretending that everything is well”, adding that the association is not willing to do so in order not to compromise patient safety.

On Monday, acting director general of health, Ray Xerri said that the MAM has no right to interfere with management decisions and that the competent people had been consulted. But in comments made to The Malta Independent, Dr Balzan claimed that when decisions taken by the management are bound to affect doctors’ working conditions, these automatically become MAM’s business.

He said that MAM is not a union, but an association of experts, which should be consulted and held in the highest regard. While stating that the opening of the admissions ward should have been taken through a more global approach, Dr Balzan said that MAM is always open for discussion with the medical authorities and is ready to contribute towards finding a solution to the issue.

Dr Balzan referred also to the hospital’s doctor population being less than the minimum stipulated by the Industrial Relations Act.

Dr Balzan blamed the overcrowding at St Luke’s Hospital on 100 blocked beds, 80 of which are occupied by social cases, and the remaining 20 by patients waiting admission to Zammit Clapp Hospital. He said that the 14 beds at the new ward will not curb the overcrowding problem.

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link to L-orizzont

Is-sala mhux miftuha fl-Isptar San Luqa - Qeghdin jaghlqu ghajnejhom ghall-problemi



L-Assocjazzjoni Medika Maltija (MAM), li tirrapprezenta lit-tobba, il-bierah ippontat subghajha lejn l-awtoritajiet ta’ l-Isptar San Luqa u akkuzathom li qeghdin jaghlqu ghajnejhom ghall-problema tan-nuqqas ta’ staff li jezisti bhalissa u qeghdin jippretendu li kollox sejjer sew.

Il-MAM kienet qieghda tirreagixxi ghall-kritika li qalghet minghand l-amministrazzjoni ta’ l-Isptar San Luqa li din wahhlet fiha ghall-fatt li sala li kellha tinfetah il-bierah baqghet ma nfethitx.

Dr Martin Balzan, Segretarju Generali tal-MAM, qal li kieku s-sala – Medical Admissions Unit – infethet huma bhala tobba ma setghux jaghtu garanzija ghas-sigurtà tal-pazjenti fis-swali l-ohrajn.

Huwa semma kif id-Dipartiment tal-Medicina, bhal dipartimenti ohrajn fis-settur tas-sahha, m’ghandux bizzejjed tobba u infermieri, tant li f’cirkolari mahruga mic-Cermen tad-Dipartiment tal-Medicina kien hemm anke theddida li jkun hemm restrizzjonijiet fil-‘leave’.

“In-numru ta’ tobba ‘on duty’ fid-Dipartiment tal-Medicina huwa inqas minn dak stipulat fil-ligi industrijali. Tant hija problema li hija difficli li ssib tobba biex imexxu s-servizzi ta’ emergenza”.

Dr Balzan qal li l-ftuh tas-sala l-gdida jzid ix-xoghol tat-tobba ghax il-pazjenti jridu jigu ezaminati biex jigi stabbilit jekk ghandhomx jidhlu fis-sala msemmija jew le. Huwa semma li d-Divizjoni tas-Sahha kienet sahansitra qieghda tippjana li zzid l-istaff mhux-mediku biex imexxi s-sala.

Huwa kkritika wkoll lill-amministrazzjoni ta’ l-Isptar talli naqsu li jikkonsultaw maghhom. Il-fatt li hafna mit-tobba kien se jkollhom ir-responsabilità li jaraw lil min idahhlu fis-sala jfisser li l-kundizzjonijiet tax-xoghol inbidlu. Ghalhekk, zied jghid Dr Balzan, l-awtoritajiet kellhom jikkonsultaw lill-MAM. Huwa anke sfida lid-Divizjoni tas-Sahha biex tghid kemm-il laqgha saret mal-konsulenti u tobba ohrajn dwar il-ftuh tas- sala.

Is-Segretarju Generali tal-MAM semma wkoll il-problema ta’ l-iffollar fl-Isptar u s-sodod fil-kuriduri. Huwa qal li fl-Isptar hemm 100 sodda li 80 minnhom huma kazijiet socjali (nies li jithallew hemm ghax ma jkollhom lil hadd min jiehu/jew irid jiehu hsiebhom) li qeghdin jistennew li jsibu post f’xi dar ta’ l-anzjani u 20 sodda (jew ahjar pazjenti) li qeghdin jistennew li jintbaghtu l-Isptar Zammit Clapp.

Waqt li qal li din il-problema mhux se tissolva bil-ftuh tas-sala l-gdida, li kienet mistennija takkomoda 14-il sodda, Dr Balzan qal li bit-tnaqqis minn erbat ijiem ghal tlieta fin-numru ta’ granet li certu pazjenti joqoghdu fl-Isptar (referenza ghall-pazjenti li kienu se jitpoggew fis-sala), il-problema tal-pazjenti zejda ma kinitx se tissolva.

“Is-sitwazzjoni sfortunata prezenti hija dovuta ghan-nuqqas ta’ konsultazzjoni mill-awtoritajiet tas-sahha u n-nuqqas taghhom li jinvestu fir-rizorsi umani. L-awtoritajiet m’ghandhomx jibqghu jwahhlu fina imma ghandhom jidhlu f’negozjati mar-rapprezentanti tal-professjoni medika”, huwa zied jghid waqt li qal li l-attitudni ta’ l-awtoritajiet tas-sahha ma tawgura xejn ghall-ftuh ta’ l-Isptar Mater Dei.



 
 
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