Non-emergency surgeries at Mater Dei Hospital will be cut back next week as medical staff are re-deployed to help manage COVID-19 cases.  

The administration at Mater Dei Hospital is finalising plans to redirect medical staff from operating theatres to intensive care units, which are under unprecedented pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Starting Monday, several non-emergency operations will be put off but emergency and cancer-related surgeries will go ahead as planned.

Non-emergency procedures include hernia repair or cataracts removal.

 

“We are still trying to map out how this will happen, but the plan that has just been agreed upon is to redirect staff from surgeries to ITU,” a source at the hospital confirmed.

A union representing nurses last week complained of a lack of resources to meet demand.   

“We have never had these numbers in ITU before,” a senior hospital source conceded on Tuesday. 

The onset of flu season is expected to pile more pressure on hospital resources.  

Questions sent to the Health Ministry on Monday evening were not replied to by the time of writing.  

Over the summer the doctors’ union had threatened to hit the brakes on elective surgeries as part of an industrial dispute with the government and hospital management.

The directives were eventually called off by the Medical Association of Malta as “a gesture of goodwill” after the government had announced a new raft of restrictive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

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