Safety hazards and privacy issues at Mater Dei as ‘camping site’ conditions persist

A Mater Dei Hospital patient’s relative was left “shocked and disgusted” following a visit to the Major Incidents Unit 6 (MIU6) ward, which holds about 50 makeshift hospital beds all lacking any privacy partitions, with patients still forced to use hazardous and leaky mobile ‘camping showers’.

Conditions at the improvised ward converted from the hospital’s canteen are “undignified” and “disgusting” according to a source whose relative was recently admitted to the ward.

The source described “soapy water leaking out of the shower” with the situation posing “a danger to anyone walking, but especially patients who might be infirm or unsteady on their feet”.

After informing hospital staff of the hazardous and “unhygienic” issue, the source was told to “not worry, because they all leak, and they (hospital staff) know about it.” The source said the nurse then “calmly went and got some bed mats, mopped up the water and placed some more to continue catching the water that was still leaking out”.

Mobile showers inside MIU6 set up since at least June 2022

“Any patient that needs to use the bathroom or simply wash their hands has to trudge all the way to the beginning, some of them pulling along their IV drip on wheels” as the ward’s only bathroom facilities are located close to the nurses’ desks at the entrance to the hall.

The eyewitness recounted how a few bed partitions were left folded at the side of the ward. After asking whether these could be set up for their relative, hospital staff “unstrapped it, and left it at that”, with the relative having to set up the partition themselves to afford the patient basic privacy.

The appalling conditions at MIU6 were first reported by The Shift in June 2022, when the same makeshift “camping showers” were brought to light by another eyewitness, who had said the situation is not “adequate for anyone, it’s just not right”.

Following The Shift’s reporting, Health Minister Chris Fearne claimed the mobile showers had not been in use since the previous winter, with patients directly contradicting Fearne’s statement.

The situation at Mater Dei has steadily been deteriorating, with the hospital reaching what has been described by hospital sources as a “saturation point” pre-pandemic, with the severe under-staffing and space issues plaguing the under-resourced hospital for a number of years.

The issue came to a head once more during the COVID Pandemic, which saw patients once again in beds along corridors, in the library, and in the staff canteen.

Sources from the Malta Union of Nurses have confirmed that the nurse-to-patient ratio at the hospital has been halved from one-to-six, with a nurse sometimes tending to more than 12 patients.

Strained conditions have led to nurses resigning en masse, and being replaced by contracted foreign nurses. These replacements are not familiar with local practices and procedures and often have difficulty interacting with patients as most do not speak Maltese, leading to a much lower quality of service being offered by the hospital.


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2 months ago

This is what Mater Dei Hospital has been reduced to, a CAMPSITE , while St. Lukes to a Pidgeon Loft ( Barumbara)

Francis Said
Francis Said
2 months ago

All this is not acceptable in our Country that the Government continues to describe the best in the EU.
This all due to the corrupt agreement with Vitals and Steward. Can the NAO quantify this lowering of quality in our healthcare system, which was meant to be sorted out by them.
Malta and Gozo urgently require additional hospitals to provide additional beds.
We are an ageing population and the continual progress in medication will continue to require more bed space in our hospitals.

Carmelo Borg
2 months ago

Minjaf jekk jinzerta xi familjari ta ministru Jew deputat tal gvern ippoguhx hemm.

Patrick Sciberras
Patrick Sciberras
2 months ago

Had the great misfortune of being admitted to that so called ward. I assure you it’s worse than described above.

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