Covid-19 screening results take up to 10 hours; Nurses voice their concern

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Nurses are suffering from great distress and anxiety, MUMN president Paul Pace pointed out in a letter to Health Minister Chris Fearne. This is due to the fact that while they wait for the Covid-19 screening results which takes six to ten hours to be issued, nurses on the wards are being left without personal protective equipment (PPE).

According to Pace this is causing distress not only to nurses working at Mater Dei Hospital but to nurses at St Vincent De Paul and the Gozo General Hospital.

In its letter the union asked the Health Minister to intervene and correct this malpractice. It highlighted that the union was still awaiting the coveralls to be provided to the nurses and its members.

“The fact that on the ward, a patient (next to other patients within the same room) who has 50%-50% chance that such patient is infectious of Covid-019 is not right for the nurses to be left without PPEs,” the letter states.

The MUMN said that nurses were not being provided with PPEs saying that this was not acceptable. Nurses that come into contact with patients who eventually test positive to coronavirus would be sent home for quarantine. The MUMN pointed out that some nurses were opting to live away from their families for fourteen days due to lack of PPEs.

“Although this problem takes mainly in MDH but MUMN was informed that patients with a pending screening for Covid-019 were also discharge to SVP. The same issue took place in Gozo General Hospital following the directions of infection control of MDH,” the letter reads.

MUMN President said that while the union was still awaiting the coveralls it became clear that even the basic gown, visor and N95 mask were not present on the wards for nurses.

“It is useless having ‘training’ nurses when such vital PPEs are not available on the wards of Mater Dei Hospital,’ Pace said.

The union warned that failure to take action will result in more nurses on quarantine leave which would see the compliment of the nursing work force reduced impacting all hospitals. 100 nurses are already on quarantine.