Nurses union boss Paul Pace has said he remains unimpressed by the government’s commitment to retain all staff at St Luke’s, Karin Grech Hospital, and Gozo General Hospital, the facilities under the Steward Health Care concession.
“Healthcare staff are highly necessary, and we are suffering a big amount of shortages. Therefore, pledging ‘continuity’ to me makes no sense,” MUMN President Paul Pace said on TVM’s Xtra.
Pace said that former concessionaries Vitals Global Healthcare had struggled to keep up human resources, and that health minister Chris Fearne had transferred nursing staff from Mater Dei to Karin Grech Hospital to keep up resources, without costing VGH additional outlay. “This demonstrated to MUMN that the government’s need for personnel at the three hospitals is great.”
Pace said that the imprint of Steward Health Care, as an American health provider, had not been felt on the running of the three hospitals.
“The people who operate the hospitals are still Maltese, and I know them as friends. They’ve been there for a long time, well before the 2013 elections,” Pace noted.
As an example, Pace said paramedics who worked at St Luke’s Hospital felt there had been no genuine transition of power, either when Vitals or Steward started running the hospital, and that their working environment was still wanting. “I’ve worked in the medical field for 38 years, and St Luke’sz remained the same. I dubbed it ‘the museum’ after visiting the physiotherapy centre set up by Steward.”
Pace was referring to the island’s sole national physiotherapy unit, which happens to be in St. Luke’ Hospital, currently under Steward management. “The union spent three months of industrial action, in order for Steward to refurbish the centre.”