Letter By Dr Mario Saliba on Social security abuses - 29/2/2004

From The Times 25th February

Social benefits abusers
Mario Saliba MD, Nadur.

The Times has been carrying out a campaign since last November putting doctors in a bad light as being the culprits who are irresponsibly dishing out sickness certificates. This campaign will not taint those professionals who conscientiously do their duty towards their patients.

The psychological and physical traumas persons are suffering are not for the doctor to tell. Our duty is not to judge other persons; we are there to help. We are always bound to believe our patients and we cannot grade certain psychological stresses and problems persons and families are having.

Having said that I still believe there are a number of irresponsible people who try to abuse the system as we get people trying to abuse our health services to the detriment of other persons who badly need the service. It is these who need to be tracked down and stopped from robbing their fellow countrymen. The experts of the social security system are the employees at the department and the politicians themselves.

Sometimes I am surprised at the way loopholes and secondary ways are found for these benefits to be given and be applicable by law. The ideas they come with are amazing! A recent phenomenon we are noticing is the greater number of persons who are officially classified as separated. We know that more and more couples are experiencing marriage problems leading to separations but do the official statistics reflect the truth? Or is it simply a change in the address and identity card to enable the couple to reap all social benefits possible, including children's allowance? How many other persons, especially single people, are holding a different address on their identity card simply for social benefits purposes? Why is it that doctors are always to blame?

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