Care homes are being "stretched to the limit" due to a staff shortage caused by hundreds of nurses being lured to the UK and burnout from dealing with two years of the pandemic.
Malta has lost more than 600 nurses to the UK, the executive committee of the Care Home Operators, within the Malta Chamber said.
Third-country nationals are choosing to go to the UK for work because of better salary and citizenship packages.
The Malta Chamber said the Nursing and Midwifery Council should be given more support and full-time staff to enable it to vet foreign nurses’ work applications within shorter time frames.
In a statement, it also proposed better residency terms and family reunification for foreign nurses and health care workers, a practice that it said is already being implemented in other European countries.
There should also be incentives to attract more local nurses to embark on a career in nurses or return to the profession, it said.
The committee urged the government to meet the private health care sector to discuss and find solutions that would be beneficial for both the private and public health and care sector.
It noted that many private care homes did not only cater for private clients, but are also on a public-private partnership agreement, relieving the state from cases that would otherwise be taking up beds in state hospitals.
Yet, they find themselves in a battle with the state, as staff is being poached from the private sector instead of recruited otherwise.
Last year, the chamber was in discussions with the government to enable care home operators to extend and renew contracts for third-country national nurses within the private sector for up to a three-year period just like the public sector, and this initiative was taken on board.