Profs A. Muscat praises new democratic setup of Medical Council - 10/5/2004

In an article published in The Sunday Times of the 9th May, Profs A. Muscat praises the setup of the new Medical council, in particular its increased democratic representation and the presence of lay members of the public.

This was only possible after years of lobbying by the last two MAM councils.

Martin Balzan


Lay members of Medical Council
Professor J.A. Muscat ( Sunday Times 9/05/2004)

The Medical Council - Malta recently published in the Malta Government Gazette (March 30) the results of the election of five doctors from among all medical practitioners in Malta and Gozo, to sit on the Medical Council.

This election was described by one of the doctor candidates as being a "truly historic event for our country".

While I doubt whether the public appreciates this, I certainly agree with the doctor that the election and the piece of legislation behind it, namely the Health Care Professions Act (Act XII of 2003) constitutes a landmark in the laws regulating the practice of medicine in Malta, taking a significat step forward in the protection of the ordinary citizen from medical malpractice.

For the first time we have a Medical Council where half of its members are elected from the whole medical community and where the lay population is represented by "two persons who are not health care professionals... appointed by the Prime Minister".

Considering that the Medical Council is required by law "to prescribe and maintain professional and ethical standards for the medical and dental profession..." and is empowered "to inflict any penalty applicable to medical practitioners and to order that such persons shall not practice the medical profession, if after due inquiry a doctor has failed to abide by the professional and ethical standards applicable to him...", the importance of having lay members on the Medical Council is clearly obvious. And yet it has taken all this time to achieve it.

The man in the street may not realise that although the introduction of such laws may go unnoticed they are more beneficial to the people at large than many an event that is loudy trumpeted by the party political media.

The recent amendment has made an important institution which is the Medical Council more democratic and transparent, essential qualities which it has lacked in sufficient measure.

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