Dr Adrian Vassallo writes in The Times - 27/7/2005

link to article in The TIMES

Discriminatory treatment of doctors (2)
Adrian Vassallo, MP (Lab.), Ta' Xbiex.

The issue of discrimination in the terms of employment of medical doctors in government service, initially raised by me in the form of a parliamentary question, has been "personalised". As a result, the original point at issue has been fudged. This is greatly to be deplored, the more so because the leading article in The Times of July 20 goes off at a tangent and misses the wood for the trees.

The point at issue is straightforward and uncomplicated. Now that Malta had been an EU member for more than a year, is there any justification for discrimination in the terms of service offered to Maltese and other surgeons of various EU nationalities in public employment?

This is not an issue of personalities. It is an issue of principle and one that seeks to establish the nature and quality of the EU pudding when it comes to the eating.

It has been officially confirmed that such discrimination is not limited to salary scale.

Exemption from income tax and the payment of air passages are thrown in to attract foreign doctors who are recruited without open competition. These special terms are denied to Maltese surgeons in their own country and are certainly not available in other EU member states.

One would have expected all those who campaigned for Malta's EU membership, not least the local media, to clamour for the implementation of EU criteria against discrimination at work and discrimination between nationals of different EU member states performing the same work.

I take the opportunity to point out that I am not a member of the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) and am not writing on its behalf. The association is well qualified to look after the interests of its members.

I raised my point in Parliament and am doing so again by means of this letter to highlight a topical issue of significance to the Maltese electorate: namely whether, in real practical terms, EU membership yields instant advantages as distinct from new burdens.

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