120 doctors write to Roamer - 1/8/2005

link to article in The TIMES

Doctors' conditions
Dr Stephen Fava, MD, MRCP (UK), M.Phil., FACP, FEFIM, FRCP(Lond.), and 120 other doctors working at St Luke's Hospital (signatures supplied), Msida.

We find the recent smear campaign against doctors by The Times and The Sunday Times very disturbing.

Neither the Medical Association of Malta nor any doctor has ever tried to discredit Mr Manché's qualifications and dedication to duty.

We never said we believed he should not be paid the amount he is currently being paid. This is not a matter of "envy".

We only believe that the law in Malta should not be broken and other doctors who are also very dedicated and saving lives on a day-to-day basis should not be discriminated against. They should be offered the same pay conditions.

The government has never offered the same conditions of work to other state doctors. We can assure you that the majority of doctors would give up their private practice and be fully dedicated to the state hospital with a pay of Lm35,000 (tax free) each year.

By Roamer's same admission, other doctors in the cardiac unit, including Professor Fenech, have made the cardiac unit one of the best in Europe.

These other doctors, including Professor Fenech only get a sixth of the pay of Mr Manché.

Other specialties also have their own very dedicated doctors, who are working at great personal sacrifice to save lives every day. Are the lives of leukaemia children worth less then cardiac patients?

Each and every doctor working at St Luke's Hospital "saves the government millions" by seeing patients and carrying out procedures locally. If they did not, all these procedures would need to be carried out in the UK.

We can all go to the UK and start working there "and become millionaires four times over". (By the way - Mr Manché is actually earning the equivalent of what a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon would earn in the UK.) Many doctors are now in fact considering emigrating to other EU countries. As a result of this, some specialties such as radiology and anaesthesia are already severely undermanned.

In conclusion, we find Roamer's defence of an illegal and highly discriminatory practice by the Department of Health very disturbing. No hospital within the EU gives different doctors in the same category different pay packets.

This practice has been illegal since our accession to the EU. By saying that a particular doctor does "special work", one is implying that the work and lives saved by other doctors is not so special and this is highly insulting to the whole medical community.

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