MUMN directs nurses not to administer flu vaccine over pending disputes

The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses has directed all nurses to refrain from administering the flu vaccine and from doing any bloodletting after a meeting with the Health Division failed to address a number of pending disputes.

In a notice to the union’s members, president Paul Pace highlighted that the meeting did bring about a number of results.

But meal allowances for the Primary Health Care Department were not approved, and neither was a request for 12 hours extra vacation leave for healthcare workers working shifts over 8 hours in length.

Additionally, a €400 per month allowance for healthcare workers with children under 10 was set to be provided with restrictions so severe as to render it impossible for union members to secure it, Pace explained. With this in mind, MUMN members with children attending primary, secondary or special schools can remain at home with their children for any period of time in case of school closures.

Pace clarified that the directive not to administer the flu vaccine applied to all nurses in hospitals, homes and health centres, including those working on overtime basis. While nurses are directed not to do any bloodletting in health centres INR and aPTT tests are still to be taken.

Earlier in the year, Health Minister Chris Fearne had confirmed that the government ordered 200,000 flu vaccines for the coming flu season – twice as many as in previous years – amid concerns that the season would be aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The vaccine is set to be made available free of charge at health centres this autumn

267 foreign nurses to be recruited

Among other issues, the MUMN highlighted a shortage of nurses in all hospitals, and it was agreed that 267 third-country nationals are to be recruited.

While meal allowances are being denied in primary health care, they are to be provided for those working at Mount Carmel Hospital, Karin Grech Hospital, the Gozo General Hospital, Mater Dei Hospital, elderly homes, the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre and St Vincent de Paul Residence.

Pace also advised that Sunday and feasts allowances during work-related quarantine leave has been finalised, and is now being implemented in all hospitals.

The MUMN also advised members who had been considered vulnerable to Covid-19 back in March to contact it should they not be deemed vulnerable under the current criteria.