Nurses concerned as number of ITU patients double

Monique Agius

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The number of coronavirus patients who are at ITU stands at 15, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said on Sunday, noting that only last week it was just six patients.

As from Sunday, there are a total of 15 covid-19 positive patients requiring intensive care with the union warning the public that if the hospital is overwhelmed with patients, a lockdown would be required.

The union noted that the hospital’s management increased further the staff in ITU by deploying more nurses from relieving pool. It explained that this implied that with the depletion of nurses from the relieve pool, the hospital does not have enough nurses to open new areas if the admissions to Mater Dei Hospital continue to increase.

The depletion of nurses from the relieve pool led to a situation where no nurses are available to be deployed in areas such as the hospital corridors or wards which are already experiencing staff shortage and need assistance and support of more nurses.

The union appealed to both the health division and the public. It highlighted that if the hospital is overwhelmed with patients, there would be no other option but a lockdown due to the fact that there will be no room for new patients at Mater Dei Hospital.

There are huge logistics on the number of patients that can be admitted to Mater Dei Hospital. “It would be wise that people stop mixing and having parties in their private homes or other areas,” the union said.

“Nobody wants a lock down including the nurses and all healthcare workers, but if the hospital is overwhelmed with patients, then all freedom and entertainment would be lost.”

The union said that the numbers of Covid-19 positive patients are increasing at a very high rate with health care professionals doing their utmost to cope with the huge demand that such admissions are bringing about.

It advised the public to stop inviting relatives in their homes and adhere more rigorously to social distancing and other measures, adding that this is the tip of the iceberg since a surge in new infections is expected in winter.

The union appealed to the health division, noting that despite the authorities claiming that 200 nurses would be soon employed at Mater Dei Hospital, only five have been employed so far. It urged the health minister to deliver on the 200 nurses employment promise saying that they are much needed at hospital. The MUMN highlighted that shortage of staff is leading to high stressful conditions.

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