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GHA Midwives take industrial action over concerns with gynaecology services

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Gibraltar Health Authority Midwives have taken industrial action and will be working in non-uniform after raising serious concern over the decision to terminate three consultant gynaecologist contracts.

In a press statement, Unite the Union said maternity department members felt this would clinically weaken the service and potentially threaten the safety of patients.

Unite said the GHA's decision to terminate these contracts appears to have been reached with little or no consultation.

“The GHA have provided no credible rationale for the non-renewal of the contracts of our gynaecology members, there remains a requirement for these critical roles within the GHA and yet the Ministry of Health seem content to cause detriment to staff and patients, as well as those members directed impacted with such reckless decision making," Sam Hennessy Regional Officer for Unite the Union said.

“When our frontline members engaged in maternity raised genuine concerns during the meeting at the actions of
the GHA to terminate the gynaecologists, certain members of GHA senior management were dismissive and arrogant towards these concerns and those raising them."

"The GHA should be engaging with and taking on-board the views and opinions of the frontline practitioners to improve services, not ignoring them."

The union has called for the immediate rescinding of the non-renewal notices given to the gynaecologists.

On Wednesday a petition was launched on calling for the three consultants contracts to be extended to ensure continuity of care, and so far has received over 800 signatures.

"Unite members at the meeting were clear that if the issues were not resolved by Wednesday 1st December at 5pm then
matters could escalate," Mr Hennessy said.

"No formal response was received from the employer side until a meeting was arranged, an hour before the deadline that has been presented, with the Ministry of Health, GHA, HMGoG and Unite representatives present."

"Unfortunately no resolution could be reached as the employer side simply sought to trot out, after the event, unfounded, ill-conceived and unclear allegations regarding the gynaecology service as justification for their decision.  As a result, Unite members in maternity will be working in non-uniform from Thursday 2nd December."

“Unite raised the contractual malpractices by the employer regarding this issue, that it once again highlights the
abuse of temporary contracts and that the GHA’s actions could potentially trigger unfair dismissal claims. This
decision is not in the interests of patients, staff or the consultants."

"The obvious detrimental impact on such an important frontline service is clear for all to see. We will continue to support our members on the frontline against such attacks. We urge both the Ministry of Health and the GHA to formally rescind the non-renewal notices given to these professionals and to engage constructively with Unite and our members who are the practitioners, on improving maternity services in Gibraltar.”

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