Doctors, nurses welcome Mater Dei consultations - 21/9/2006

link to The Times

Doctors, nurses welcome Mater Dei consultations
Cynthia Busuttil

The news that discussions with doctors and nurses on Mater Dei Hospital should start soon has been welcomed by the Medical Association of Malta and the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses.

When contacted, nurses' union president Rudolph Cini said it was about time that the consultation started, adding that at last the stakeholders' appeals had been heard.

He said however that considering the short time available for consultation before the hospital is due to open its doors, it did not look like any "radical changes" would take place in how the hospital is to be run.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said during an interview on the Granaries that discussions on the way Mater Dei Hospital will operate should start soon.

Mr Cini said it was imperative that the new hospital brought about operational changes which would allow the nurses to give a better service to patients. Mater Dei should not just offer an improved environment over St Luke's Hospital.

He stressed the importance of investing in human resources, not just for nurses but also ancillary services so that the nurses would be able to concentrate more on their work.

Mr Cini also sees the need for a change of mentality with regard to maintenance, so that equipment is regularly seen to and not allowed to deteriorate over time.

Martin Balzan, the secretary general of the doctors' association, said MAM was looking forward to making a constructive contribution to the consultations. He too said it was important to invest in human resources and to have a set-up which would remove any obstacles to doctors doing their work.

He also called for improvement in the post-graduate training offered to doctors in an attempt to keep them in Malta.

The problem of overcrowding needed to be addressed and treating people in corridors needed to stop, he added.

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