Referring to press conferences recently addressed by the Public Health Authorities to give the latest updates on coronavirus, the Malta Union for Midwives and Nurses, MUMN President Paul Pace said that health authorities cannot continue treating COVID-19 as if it is seasonal flu as this is not the case.
Paul Pace also said that nurses do not take instructions by the Superintendent for Public Health, Profs Charmaine Gauci, when she addresses press conferences.
Paul Pace mentioned how the MUMN, in February, had issued directives for all its members to not attend patients positive to coronavirus, at Mater Dei as nurses are not being given the necessary training, protocols and planning to treat possible cases of coronavirus. This directive has been re-issued.
Paul Pace also said that the MUMN issued directives for all its members as nurses in Mater Dei Hospital, are still not aware which areas or which wards in Mater Dei will be hosting any patients admitted with coronavirus and adequate training is not being provided to them.
“The only training nurses are given is related only on how to wear minimal protective clothing and the training takes only 15 minutes” stated Paul Pace.
This is creating anxiety to all health professionals said MUMN President. “It’s not because we do not want to attend patients but it is our duty to protect our members,” said Pace.
MUMN President also referred to an SMS he received to inform him that last night a patient was admitted to the ITU department at Mater Dei Hospital as health officials feared the patient had contracted coronavirus. According to Paul Pace, there were nurses attending to the patient who weren’t even provided with a protective mask. Pace said that this is unacceptable and worrying.
According to MUMN, till this day the staff to handle coronavirus patients have not been identified.
During the press conference, the MUMN said that not all nurses are equipped with the necessary equipment especially coveralls which can help protect medical staff from the virus especially from the coughing and the sneezing. Pace mentioned how on international media, nurses, like everyone else, can see how medical staff wear protective clothing against coronavirus while in Malta nurses are equipped with the basic nursing clothing. “Nurses need 360 degrees protection” – said Paul Pace.
The MUMN has also been the only union to ask for protective insurance for nurses and this has been accepted by the relevant authorities.
Paul Pace said that health authorities cannot continue saying Malta is at low risk because we are not.
He also referred to what Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday that the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, was not the plague and that it will not affect everyone. Paul Pace said that Prime Minister’s statement is dangerous while explained that yes coronavirus can spread easily like the plague.
MUMN President said that he cannot understand how the Superintendent for Public Health Profs Charmaine Gauci is saying that health authorities are well prepared against COVID-19.
The Malta Union for Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) said that it will continue to safeguard the interests of its members as they will be the health professionals assisting coronavirus patients 24/7.