Over the past months, both the public and the private sector had been calling on the Government to take the shortage of nurses seriously, even more so recently, since the UK was poaching foreign nurses working in Malta.
The Care Home Operators within The Malta Chamber proposed, among other recommendations, the reduction in bureaucracy being met with, when applying for work permits through Identity Malta. The duration of the permit, the substantial cost for renewals and the problems encountered when bringing their spouses and children to join them locally, were amongst the reasons several had decided to leave Malta, creating a huge problem in hospitals, clinics and care homes amongst others.
Today’s decision reached between the Government and the Union of Nurses is welcomed, however, the decision to allow only those employed in the public sector to benefit from such decisions is unjust. The shortage of nurses and care health workers is felt by everyone and the fact that the public sector is favoured and classified as more important than the private sector is unacceptable.
The Government is being reminded that the same private sector alleviates the burden to the State when offering its services to the population, and many operators are also providing their service to the Government. Removing red tape in support of the public sector alone is unwarranted and will only result in foreign health care workers seeking employment within the Public Health System compounding the problem further for the private sector.
Anything but an equal playing field is not acceptable. The Government is therefore being asked to reconsider its decision and offer the same terms and conditions on work permit duration, costs and applications irrelevant if one is employed in the public or the private sector.