The vast majority of operations have gone ahead as scheduled since the nurses’ union initiated industrial action that impacted the sterilisation of soiled surgical instruments a week ago, according to the Health Ministry.

While 20 operations were cancelled, 315 were performed as scheduled. The Mater Dei Hospital’s administration has resorted to the private sector to help with sterilisation.

Last Thursday, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses issued directives stopping technicians from decontaminating and sterilising medical instruments used during operations and packaging them for upcoming surgeries.

MUMN president Paul Pace said the issue revolved around the financial package of these technicians. 

In all, about 180 personnel are following the directives, which do not impact emergency surgeries. Meanwhile, meetings held between the union and the health authorities this week were inconclusive, Pace said.

“They did not offer anything new. They just want us to lift the directives,” he said, adding they would remain in place. The ministry said negotiations were still underway.


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