National Patients’ Organisation-Malta (NPO-Malta) has written to the Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna with a proposal for accommodation in Malta to be provided for Gozitan patients, who have to travel for treatment, as well as for relatives of those patients who are hospitalised in Malta.
The NPO said that this “serious proposal” has been put forward for discussion and “hopefully merits to be included in the budget for the year 2019.”
NPO-Malta is a relevantly new patient centred NGO which is led by patients working with patients Since its set up it said that it has gathered feedback from patients about the health services offered.
The NGO explained that the proposal came about after they were in touch from patients living in Gozo and following a Conference held there last month, to which a foreign speaker – Mr. Mariano Votta from the Active Citizenship Network (ACN) attended..
During this Conference three patients made their own presentations and related their experiences on hardships they go through to travel from Gozo to Malta
NPO-Malta went on to say that they immediately found “the great hardship, both physical, moral and financial, that for many years has been endured by patients living in Gozo, who have to travel to Malta for the various outpatients clinics.”
“Many a time, these patients, who can be both vulnerable and weak, are being given appointments at Mater Dei starting at 7.30am or 8.00am,” pointed out NPO-Malta
In the letter to the Finance Minister NPO President Irene Schembri, said that, “our serious concerns about the lack of facilities to accommodate the patients or their immediate relatives when they have close family members hospitalised at Mater Dei for what could be a short or a much longer stay, have been expressed in meetings earlier this year with the Ministry in Malta and Steward in Gozo.”
She added that, “some patients are on their death bed and their families, who are lucky enough, find accommodation with some relatives living in Malta, sometimes without lack of privacy and feel they are in the way while causing inconvenience to their hosts.”
“These poor people are made to suffer especially when they would only wish to be in peace because they are so worried about the serious condition of their relative patient who is lying in hospital to receive treatment or under the care and assistance of the medical services,” she added.
“As from last April when we started meeting patients in Gozo, we also learnt that after some treatment administered, patients need to rest for some time.
“But the situation as it stands today is that these patients have nowhere where to go and rest and the only option is that they are forced to start the long journey back from Mater Dei to Gozo,” said Irene Schembri.
She continued by saying that “the relatives of these patients have therefore only the following three options: either keep travelling to and fro every day; beg family or friends for temporary lodgings; or stay at a hotel. For some, none of these are even possible due to their financial situations.”
Ms Schembri also pointed out in the letter that, “patients in Gozo lamented that a huge progress was achieved, so far away as in London for the Maltese/Gozitan patients, and they strongly argue about why this can’t be achieved in Malta for Gozitan patients and their immediate family.”
The National Patients’ Organisation-Malta, concluded it letter by saying that they are proposing for lodging in the form of, “at best private apartments or at least studio apartment for them to be accommodated preferably for free during the whole term while their relatives are either receiving short/long treatment, such as chemo or hospitalisation for various conditions due to ill health.”