It is unfair and unjust for patients to suffer during industrial disputes

The Commissioner for Health in the Office of the Ombudsman has noted with satisfaction the agreement reached by UĦM – Voice of the Workers and the Ministry for Health, regarding equal conditions of work of Steward Health Care employees and those employed by the Government, as reported in sections of the media.  This concerned employees in the Allied Health Profession.

The dispute, took over 15 months to solve, including over two months of Industrial Action. The action affected not only those hospitals run by Steward Healthcare, but also Mater Dei Hospital from where patients needing rehabilitative treatment could not be transferred to Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital. Also, patients could not be transferred from one ward to another. This meant that at Karin Grech Hospital patients in the Admission/Quarantine ward could not be transferred to their proper ward.

The Commissioner would therefore like to appeal to the Unions – all Unions – not to use the patient as a pawn in order to exert pressure on the Ministry.  On the other hand, the Ministry should take immediate action when a Union pin points a particular problem.

It is not fair and just for patients to be made to suffer.

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