Nurses at the Mater Dei Hospital on Tuesday initiated industrial action demanding better quality meals at work. This impacted several operations at the hospital.
The industrial action is organised following a directive of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN). According to reports, eight operations were postponed at 8 AM as nurses did not accompany the patients to operation theatre.
CEO Ivan Falzon said that the industrial action did not impact emergency services but added that it would still impact many who have been waiting for a date since months.
“This is disproportionate action which certainly doesn’t put the interests of patients first,” he was quoted as saying by Times of Malta.
Talking about the issue, Falzon said that free meals are available in the canteen for both doctors and nurses but the number of people availing this facility has increased to 1300.
On the other hand, the MUMN had put out a statement in June warning the hospital of an action if sweet beverages and carbohydrates were not reintroduced in the canteen menu.
“MUMN would like to make it clear that Malta is not a dictatorship country where a person is obliged to eat only what the Health Promotion department deems fit,” the union said, as quoted by Times of Malta.
CEO Falzon said that the union should have first exhausted all discussions with the hospital authorities before taking the step. However, MUMN president Paul Pace said that a meeting with the Health Department on Monday ended without any agreements.
Pace also said that since the quality of food at the hospital canteen is not satisfactory, the union is now demanding a small allowance for the nurses so that they can buy a meal for themselves during the 12-hour shift.