Some people have been turned away from blood test appointments at Mater Dei amid an ongoing dispute between the nurses' union and the government over increases in allowances. 

Phlebotomists and Decontamination Sterilizing Technicians have been told to limit the number of patients they see every day. 

They have also been ordered to stop any outsourcing work and the tackling of waiting lists. 

Patients who spoke to Times of Malta said they were forced to reschedule their appointments after they were turned away when they arrived at Mater Dei for on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, another patient was told that although she could turn up for her appointment the next day, there was no guarantee she would not be asked to change it since the action is still ongoing. 

Phlebotomists are healthcare workers who draw patients' blood. 

Union chief Paul Pace said the action is over a row with the government on allowances. 

Pace said that while thousands were spent on outsourcing services, the government refused to pay its workers an extra allowance that would allow them to further their studies. 

"We keep being told that if the allowances are given, other unions representing other workers will want that too. We want to see what others have agreed to because the MUMN does not trust the health department," Pace said. 

The proposed agreement was for some 50 to 60 people,  and is being discussed by the union and the government, he said. 

Times of Malta has contacted the government.

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