Operations cancelled due to industrial action over quality of food offered to nurses
Two weeks since the Union of Nurses and Midwives began their industrial actions at Mater Dei because of the quality of food being offered in the canteen to its members, TVM is informed that 10 operations had to be cancelled recently as a result.
The CEO of the hospital, Ivan Falzon, indicated that the industrial actions were not followed by all the nurses and midwives because the majority continued fulfilling their duties and had placed the patients at the centre of their care.
The President of the MUMN, Paul Pace, while defending the industrial actions, said that these were not just about the food issue but over the fact that there are a lack of nurses in the health service.
The industrial actions have dragged on for two weeks because the union members are complaining that the food being provided is not healthy.
“This is not healthy eating because everything is deep-fried and is not edible.”
Notary Cory Greenland, who teaches industrial relations at the University said that although these type of actions are at the discretion of the union, he feels it would be fairer if the union had to persuade the hospital management rather than affect patients with its actions.
”In this case it appears that the ones who are suffering are the patients. One could perhaps consider actions which do not directly affect patients in the circumstances.”
TVM is informed that because of these actions ten operations had to be cancelled. Questioned about this situation, the CEO said that these directives create unnecessary pressures on the health services and in certain cases this can lead to a delay in treatment, putting patients at risk.
Mr Falzon indicated that the directives had not been followed by everyone and that these actions have drawn unjust criticism towards all the nurses even though the absolute majority of them had continued with their duties towards the patients.
The President of the MUMN said that apart from the food issue, the nurses’ situation is not what some might think.
“The public needs to understand that nurses are working with half the workforce they need, in other words if we are not going. to address these working conditions, it is the public which will suffer because certain services cannot be provided.”
Mr Pace said that every week, three nurses are leaving the hospital. He added that discussions with the Department of Health will continue on Friday and if no agreement is reached, the MUMN is ready to extend its directives to the health centres.