The government has committed to giving the nurses’ union Mount Carmel Hospital renovation time frames by next week, Tiems of Malta has learnt.

Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) president Paul Pace said that the nurses were promised by the Health Ministry that the time frames would be supplied by “next week”.

On Wednesday, the newspaper reported that the union had threatened the government with industrial action if it did not provide time frames that outline the work planned for the hospital.

In comments to the newspaper following the meeting, Mr Pace confirmed that the ministry had indeed agreed to provide the union with the timeframes. The union head, however, was quick to point out that nurses would only be assured once the time frames were actually in hand.

“We’ve been here before. The government promises things and then fails to deliver them. So we have to wait and see whether these will actually be supplied,” Mr Pace said.

Union not highly optimistic promises would be kept

The move comes in the wake of reports in the Times of Malta that most of the wards at the country’s only mental health hospital have condemned ceilings. As a result, patients have been crammed into a few wards, with beds lined up too close to each other.

According to Mr Pace, during a meeting on Wednesday, the government had also committed to bringing in more contractors in order to carry out the much-needed work at the hospital. On this aspect too, he said, the union was somewhat sceptical and was “still not highly optimistic” that the promises would be kept.

According to the Health Ministry, the hospital “today is a safer place” since all structures have been reviewed and dangerous areas have been closed off.

A ministry spokeswoman has also said that the project to renovate the hospital is proceeding according to plan and “by summer” two wards would be completely refurbished and ready to house patients.