Government tackling waiting list situation - health parliamentary secretary - 8/2/2009

link to the Times

Sunday, 8th February 2009 - 12:03CET
Government tackling waiting list situation - health parliamentary secretary

The number of people turning up at the outpatients’ department since the opening of Mater Dei Hospital has increased by 65,000.

The number of admissions increased by more than 4,000 and the number of major operations increased by more than 300, Health Parliamentary Secretary Joe Cassar said this morning.

Speaking during a dialogue meeting with Nationalist Party supporters, Dr Cassar said the government was tackling the waiting lists problem in a number of different ways.

The government was working for all Maltese and Gozitans to be registered with a family doctor who would have access to x-rays, blood results and would be able to order certain tests. The family doctor would also have a direct link with the patient’s consultant at Mater Dei. A public consultation on this was to be embarked upon soon.

It was also working to set up a centralised link and although a lot more still needed to be done, since it started working on this the ophthalmic list was shortened by 439 people. The orthopaedic list was reduced by 23 per cent. Templates, Dr Cassar said, had already been prepared for a centralised waiting list management system.

The government was also thinking also about human resources and was seeing how to create the position of operating assistants to assist nurses in theatres.

A lot of progress had also been registered for doctors’ specialisation to be completely carried out in Malta.

The government was working with unions on work practices. He pleaded with unions to help change such practices for more flexibility which would benefit the patients.

Dr Cassar said that the government was also seeing how to tackle the hospital beds issue. Following operations, one needed time to recover but this time should not be spent in an acute, but in a rehabilitation hospital.

The government was working to build such a hospital and in the meantime it was trying to increase as many beds as possible in existing ones.

On medicines imported by the government, Dr Cassar said that legislation reference prices was in its final stages and being studied by the Attorney General.

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