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A number of followers have complained with us that their hospital appointments were being cancelled as late as the same day of appointment, others on rehabilitation have been informed that no physiotherapy session are being held.

All this is happening due to an industrial action that affects 10 categories known as allied healthcare professionals. These include radiographers, biomedical scientists (who analyse samples taken from patients), physiotherapists, speech language pathologists and occupational therapists. Apart from Mater Dei Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital, they are also in force across all health centres, clinics and St Vincent de Paul.

The issue revolves on which union has official recognition of the allied healthcare professionals. Such an inconvenience to the general public for something which to the same public is so very trivial!

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What is worse is not to have some blood test appointment cancelled, but the fact that dozens of people on waiting lists for surgeries could have their operations cancelled! This is because blood tests, x-rays, some pre-op investigations and the issuing of new appointments are among the procedures affected.

Some 219 directives have been issued by UĦM Voice of the Workers in the industrial action that began on Tuesday. Surgeries began to be cancelled on Thursday because the crucial pre-op investigations are not being carried out, the union said.

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Radiographers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are among the workers that unions have instructed not to perform non-urgent duties. Emergency-only X-rays are being taken in Paola, Mosta and Qormi health centres. Union members are also instructed to see new patients only, and not to perform follow-up visits. Moreover, they have also been ordered not to answer phone calls or emails.

UĦM CEO Josef Vella warned that unless the deadlock is broken, the actions could be widened to other sectors. As if what is currently happening was not bad enough!

So when teachers threaten to strike, all Malta is furious and they always end up cancelling the said strikes… but all is fine when healthcare professionals strike? Ħawwadni ha nifhem!

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