Doctors have threatened to disrupt outpatient appointments at Mater Dei and close 42 community clinics if the government fails to ban mass events.

In a notice to the health ministry on Friday, the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) listed its full instructions to members after the government’s insistence on allowing mass events to go ahead, despite a spike in COVID-19 cases.

On Thursday, the Malta Union of Nurses and Midwives said it was also directing its members to refuse to carry out a range of duties.  

The government on Thursday announced new restrictions on the head counts at such events, but the move has done little to quell criticism from doctors. 

Active COVID-19 cases have shot up to 150, with clusters of cases being linked to a hotel takeover party and the Sta Venera feast. They also include groups of migrants who arrived together on boats from Libya. 

These directives will see all Mater Dei outpatient appointments postponed as of Monday. The directive will remain in force for one week. 

All elective surgery will be postponed from August 5 to August 12. The same applies for all elective ultrasounds. Elective procedures are scheduled in advance and do not involved medical emergencies.

Doctors in the accident and emergency department are exempt from the directives. 

MAM is also threatening the closures of all 42 community clinics for a one week period. 

Only urgent cases will be seen at health centres, with non-urgent cases being encouraged to postpone their appointment or call the telemedicine centre. 

All clinically stable patients with symptoms will be asked to call 111 and be swabbed before they are seen. 

Diabetic and medical consultant clinic appointments will be postponed or held by telephone. 

From Monday, all Gozo hospital outpatient appointments will be postponed, with the directive remaining in force for one week. Doctors working in oncology, psychiatry, geriatrics and paediatrics are exempt. 

All community clinics will remain closed. 

Doctors at the Sir Anthony Mamo oncology centre, Mount Carmel hospital and Karin Grech hospital are all exempt from the directives, as are public health doctors and doctors working in swabbing centres. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us