Karin Grech staff member: ‘I think about quitting almost every day’

Employee reveals shocking details about working conditions

 

A staff member at Karin Grech spoke to The Shift about the shocking working conditions in the hospital run by Steward Healthcare, where “trash” amenities pose a serious risk to the wellbeing of both patients and staff.

The source reached out following the publication of an article that revealed the decrepit condition of walls and ceilings, and critical medical equipment stashed in shopping bags.

While this person — who asked to remain anonymous — is not in a position to share visual evidence for publication, images seen by The Shift corroborate the claims being presented.

“I do this job because I love working with people,” the source said. “But the more time passes, I realise how difficult it is and doubt whether it is worth it for me. You can’t even fully exert your profession. You can try to apply your knowledge, but you can’t do it properly because of the present situation.”

Most of the patients housed in Karin Grech’s rehabilitation wards are elderly and frail, and the lack of adequate amenities is made much worse for them.

“This bothers me a lot,” the source said, blaming lack of investment in the hospital for inadequate access to infrastructure crucial for patient rehabilitation. “After having studied so hard, the conditions I work in are insulting.”

Stairways used for patient rehabilitation have been worn smooth, and traction tape has not been applied to protect frail patients from injuring themselves while performing ‘stair management’ exercises.

Bathrooms have limited safety features and are not protected by non-slip flooring, work described by the source as “very shoddily done”.

The risk of slips and injuries during rehabilitation work is further exacerbated by decrepit air conditioning units that often leak, loose and chipped tiles, stuffy corridors and rooms without air conditioning, unsafe ceilings and windows that leak during heavy rain.

“Present equipment is not up to standard, either,” the source said. “Wheelchairs are rusty, with sharp edges and dislodged mechanisms that increase the risk of skin tears. Shower chairs are also flimsy, and can cause a patient to tip over.”

When asked whether staff members have ever been reprimanded following a patient injury when using amenities that the source described as “trash”, the staff member said “intense” ad-hoc “risk assessments” are carried out by the staff to avoid such injuries.

“If I have the slightest doubt about whether a patient is going to be okay when using hospital amenities, which happened more than once, I don’t dare use it. So certain aspects of care are avoided.”

“Patients are rarely allowed to use certain amenities alone even if physical abilities are present,” the source added. “Healthcare professionals working with them simply refuse to take these risks. Obviously, I won’t take them either.”

Staff members are also forced to have difficult conversations with patients and visitors when explaining why certain rehabilitation exercises cannot be carried out because the facility lacks the proper equipment.

“I never had any problems with patients,” the source said. “Whenever there was a problem, I was always very honest with them and they were usually very understanding.”

Given the unacceptable working environment at the hospital, staff morale is very low and understaffing is ubiquitous across every department.

Asked whether they’ve ever considered quitting, the source said, “Almost every day”, adding that the only thing holding them back is love for the vocation and the inevitable reality that there aren’t many other options in Malta.

“When I’m next to my patients, I forget about everything. I love how people always remember you and are grateful for what you did for them. What really makes me angry is that our sacrifices are not recognised, or are barely appreciated.”

When asked what they would say to the parliamentary representatives responsible for the original hospitals privatisation deal, the source said the deal should be terminated since it is clear healthcare authorities had “let the general public down”.

Karin Grech is one of the three public hospitals under the management of Steward Healthcare, which took over the controversial concession the government originally signed with Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) in 2015.

The concessionaire had agreed to invest €200 million in the refurbishment and modernisation of Karin Grech, St Luke’s and Gozo hospitals, but later declared the agreement “fraudulent and corrupt” while failing to meet its obligations.

“We lost all hope that this hospital will be outfitted properly, so we are forced to work with what we have,” the source said. “The people who run this hospital don’t care about patients’ rehabilitation. They only care about taxpayers’ money. The situation is really desperate. It’s desperate for the healthcare professionals working here, and it’s desperate for the people who need the hospital’s services.”

                           
                               
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viv
viv
1 month ago

Anger.

Albert Beliard
Albert Beliard
1 month ago

“Karin Grech is one of the three public hospitals under the management of Steward Healthcare, which took over the controversial concession the government originally signed with Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) in 2015.”

So, here are ‘excellent’ examples of the medical services and skills that Steward Healthcare from the USA wanted to ‘invest’ and improve in Malta – when nothing has happened over the past few years, instead peeling off EUR 70 million per year to secret companies overseas when its ‘unknown’ Pakistani UBO has a Maltese EU passport from the IIP.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

Let’s face reality, the Hon. Minister Chris Fearne, got it hopelessly wrong when he stated that Steward were the real deal!!!
Also the investment required for three hospitals of €200 million is certainly not enough to fund these projects adequately.
Conclusion, Malta has been taken for a ride, ridiculed and definitely thought of as gullible.
So Vitals/Steward are just a bad dream, come through, at the patient’s expense and the taxpayer.
Well done PL.

S Z
S Z
1 month ago

This morning they are searching for the person who spoke to the journalist.

Also top management officials walking around the hospital asking which ACs are leaking and if staff need any equipment.

What a joke

Last edited 1 month ago by S Z
12X
12X
30 days ago
Reply to  S Z

Mhux is-soltu taghhom il-VGH/Steward bazuzli. L-ewwel jghaffgu u jballtu, umbghad jigu bir-rawa f’halqhom jippruvaw jsibu xi povru carer x’jsalbu.

Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
1 month ago

I CERTAINLY AM NOT SURPRISED. THIS CORRUPT INCOMPETENT LABOUR GOVERNMENT IS ONLY GOOD FOR TWO THINGS. CHOICES MADE TO LINE THEIR POCKETS!!!

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