Patients recovering at Mater Dei Hospital’s MIU6 (Major Incident Unit) ward are being forced to make do with four small cubicle showers that offer no comfort or privacy.
The cubicle showers are mobile units usually seen at events and festivals rather than in a medical ward. Toilets are located in another area outside of the main ward wherein patients face a situation described by a relative of a patient who had been in the ward as “inadequate”.
Unlike the outpatients ward, in which less severe cases are often assessed with patients walking in and out on their own two feet, MIU6 is used for patients who require consistent care and attention.
“If you want to use the toilet before taking a shower, you can’t even do it there. You have to go to a separate toilet outside of the main room where the security guard is posted,” the eyewitness who spoke to The Shift said.
“I don’t feel this is adequate for anyone, it’s just not right. While the nurses and the staff were nice, the showers looked like patients are hanging out at a camping site or at a festival.”
The issue was first highlighted by Opposition MP Adrian Delia on social media on Thursday. Delia posted an image of the cubicle showers inside the ward that formerly served as a hospital canteen, saying “unfortunately, this is not a joke”.
“This is Malta now,” Delia added, “Millions are squandered and citizens always come last”.
The Shift visited the ward on the same day and can confirm shower cubicles were also visible at the entrance to the ward.
While entrance to the main ward was not possible since it is strictly only accessible to visitors seeking to spend time with patients who are recovering at MIU6, The Shift reached out to eyewitnesses and hospital sources:
“When you walk into the ward, split up by partitions, you see all the beds next to each other. Across the room, there are windows, with two showers on the left and two showers on the right. The bottom of the shower looks like it’s made of ceramic, and I am not even sure whether it has a non-slip texture or anything like that.”
Apart from the inconvenience the mobile showers pose, another commented on the lack of privacy: “There’s only a curtain that allows people to get dressed just outside of the showering cubicle. I don’t feel like the elderly should be treated in this way.”
While Mater Dei remains in the government’s hands, the situation becomes particularly insulting to honest taxpayers who expect adequate medical service, especially when considering how much money the government has otherwise forked out to Steward Healthcare, the concessionaires of the three other major hospitals in Malta – Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital, Gozo’s General Hospital and St Luke’s Hospital – while these are the conditions that must be borne by patients at Malta’s main hospital.
“This was just too much. With all due respect to the hospital administration, I don’t think they would treat their own family members in this way. If you don’t want this to happen to your family then you shouldn’t treat anyone else’s family in that way,” said the relative of a former patient in the ward.