The Malta Chamber earlier this week, held its 3rd Industry Focus Session in collaboration with EY Malta. During this conference the local health sector was discussed, with particular focus on the challenges of skills and recruitment in the industry, and how logistic hurdles affect it.
During her speech, Dr Marthese Portelli, The Malta Chamber CEO, emphasised how critical the situation is in terms of human resources and nursing staff. 50% of third-country nationals working as nurses in Malta's private hospitals leave or change jobs in the first 6 months of arriving. Moreover, around 72% of nurses working within the private sector are foreign, non-EU citizens. Dr Portelli also noted that 63% of care workers, who help vulnerable people live as comfortably as possible, are third-country nationals, of which 9% leave in the first 6 months.
The Malta Chamber CEO identified several hurdles:
• Bureaucracy and delays in obtaining the Single Permit
• Bottlenecks at The Nursing and Midwifery Council regarding TCN certification
• Poaching by the Public Sector
• Family Reunification requirements in Malta is too high in relation to other countries
With this in mind, Dr Portelli outlined several proposals by The Malta Chamber in respect to 3 main areas: Administrative, Procurement, and Attractiveness and Competition.
• Increasing resources to address staffing issues at The Nursing and Midwifery Council in order to expedite applications and to enable processing within set time frames
• Addressing the issue of visa delays with relevant service providers to ensure that appointments are granted within a reasonable time frame
• Granting of a 3-month interim work permit under the same criteria as the approval in principle from Identity Malta
• A procurement outlook
• Use past data for proper and advance forecasting of medicines and medical equipment that is in high demand year on year
• Shorter term contracts to mitigate supply chain issues which are beyond the control of the provider
• Inbuilt clauses which allow for price fluctuations based on the current market reality
Administrative and Competition:
• Widening the scope of the Key Employment Initiative scheme to attract individuals in possession of certain critical skills and qualifications that are running short in the labour market
• Carry out a structured informative campaign which encourages Maltese students to pursue a career in social care and healthcare
A keynote speech was also delivered by John Marsh, Partner in EY People Advisory Services who is also a Non-Executive Director for NHS Surrey Heartland Integrated Care System with the aims of improving population health and integrating health and social care services.
The conference also included 2 panel discussions which discussed:
• Human resources and workforce hurdles within the health care sector
• Logistical and supply chain challenges in the medical field