Overcrowded hospital wards 'a strain' on staff
The Medical Association of Malta said that overcrowding in the medical wards at St Luke's Hospital, resulting from the onset of winter, once again was resulting in a big strain on medical staff and other health care professions.
Overcrowding was not conducive to optimum patient care, MAM said.
The eight medical wards at the hospital, which should have 240 patients had had to deal with up to 340, the MAM added.
It said one must appreciate the authorities' efforts, in dealing with this emergency, by transferring overnight a number of "social long stay cases" and actually cancelling non-urgent surgical operations to make space for this emergency. However, more needed to be done and staffing levels in all categories must be adequate.
The MAM said management needed to take reasonable measures to make the best of available staff.
The association added that the Health Division and the Secretariat for the Elderly should continue to work out long-term plans so that such a situation would not materialise again in the future, especially when the new hospital opens in 2006.
Measures had to be planned so that there would not be "social cases" blocking hospital beds for months on end.
The MAM said that adequate geriatric rehabilitation services must also be available so that patients do not have to wait for weeks at St Luke's Hospital to benefit from services currently offered at Zammit Clapp Hospital.
The association said it was willing to contribute constructively in any discussions to avoid this happening again in the future.