The Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin has called off the directives it issued to allied healthcare professions following an agreement reached by the union and the Health Ministry yesterday.

UĦM health services secretary Gian Paul Gauci said that following a full day of talks with Health Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne and Health Minister Konrad Mizzi, the union walked out with a signed commitment to remedy the issues at stake.

The union subsequently lifted the directives on speech language pathologists, podiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dental hygienists, dental technologists, audiologists, radiographers, medical laboratory scientists and optometrists.

The industrial action taken by paramedic aides was also suspended. Calls for application to engage additional professionals will be out on Friday. A number of internal calls will also be issued, Mr Gauci said.

There was a commitment to implement the 2013 collective agreement meant to usher in a reform of the sector, he added. The agreement included installing managers to oversee the allied healthcare professionals working within separate entities, such as those working at Mater Dei, Karin Grech Hospital and Gozo General Hospital. The issue of leave, which was not granted to a number of professionals due to understaffing, will be resolved by carrying it over to the following year.

A meeting with the ministry will be held this week to discuss the government’s plan for the private sector to develop and run the Gozo and St Luke’s hospitals.

Mr Gauci said the union had ordered limited industrial action some three weeks ago but the government had not responded to these issues.

Last week, the union issued a warning that the ongoing industrial action would be escalated unless a dispute involving the employment of further staff was resolved.

This would have resulted in the postponement of dozens of elective operations, including knee and hip replacements, which had been on the waiting list for months.

The directives affected a number of non-acute patients, including children attending occupational therapy and physiotherapy at the Child Development Assessment Unit.

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