Opening of new ward closer - 21/9/2006

link to The Times

Opening of new ward closer
Cynthia Busuttil

The medical admissions ward at St Luke's Hospital: Still waiting for its first patients. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The new medical admissions ward at St Luke's Hospital, whose opening has been delayed in a medical dispute, should start functioning in a few weeks' time, hospital superintendent Frank Bartolo said yesterday.

The hospital authorities are holding meetings with the Medical Association of Malta, together with consultants and other partners, and Dr Bartolo told The Times that "things are looking brighter".

MAM general secretary Martin Balzan said the ward should be open some time at the beginning of next month. He said although a final settlement between the two parties had not yet been reached, most of the problems had been trashed out.

The ward, which was initially scheduled to open on August 28, will provide an area where patients can be diagnosed and treated after which they would either be discharged or admitted to another ward within three days.

However, MAM directed doctors not to admit patients because it had not been consulted over the move and because it believed that operating the new ward would require additional staff in a situation where hospital's human resources are already stretched.

Dr Balzan stressed the importance of consultation, adding that the MAM was quite happy with the way this had taken place over the past weeks, with various entities being consulted.

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