Dr Fava wites to Sunday Times - 4/11/2004

Error of judgment
Dr Stephen Fava, president, Medical Association of Malta (MAM), Gzira.

MAM would like to thank Mr Michael Falzon (The Sunday Times, October 24) for defining it "a serious professional body for the medical sector". However, Mr Falzon seems to hold the view that an association is not "serious" when it criticises the government. Precisely because it is a "serious organisation", MAM is not afraid to call a spade a spade and defend the legitimate rights of its members and the interest of patients.

As for the "spot check" referred to by Mr Falzon, it was the Health Division that had resorted to a "blanket smear" of the profession, by leaking biased information. Further investigation revealed that such doctors were not absent, as claimed by Mr Falzon, but had afternoon sessions or were doing other legitimate work, such as that related to medical students' examination. Indeed, the Health Division had to withdraw its accusations on practically all these doctors.

As a serious, conscientious association, MAM defended the good name of the profession, and criticised the Health Division for leaking partial information without bothering to check the facts. Even though these facts were made public by MAM and given prominence by the media, they seem to have escaped Mr Falzon's attention.

Once again, MAM is witnessing another unwarranted attack on the profession. The Tax Compliance Unit, out of the 25,000 self-employed, and thousands of small businesses, has decided to single out doctors to the extent that a significant number of doctors who do not even practise privately have been summoned by the TCU. Such are the misconceptions and biases against the medical profession that the TCU has decided to target a significant number of doctors.

MAM takes the "spot check" episode, and the "TCU intimidations" as evidence that many, perhaps like Mr Falzon, in government quarters consider the medical profession as their favourite dart board. A close look at the last 30 years of Maltese history will clearly illustrate the possible consequences of such errors of judgment.

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