MLP's plan to improve health sector - 20/6/2006

link to The Times

MLP's plan to improve health sector
The Malta Labour Party is drawing up its plan on the health services sector to ensure it will not be repeating any of the mistakes being committed by the government, party spokesman Michael Farrugia said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Farrugia said the MLP's plan would have the patient at the centre of its policies.

"Most of the staff working in the health sector are very professional and do their utmost. It's the administration that's letting them down, and there did not seem to be the political will to change what had to be changed," he said.

Dr Farrugia added that the health sector was plagued with problems and unless the government took the bull by the horns and the problems were fixed rather than transferred to the new hospital, the health sector would be in a bigger mess than it was in at the moment, he said.

The waiting time for both investigations as well as operations was getting longer and this was not right, he argued.

The government should have started the discussion about changing work practices as well as about the hospital management with all concerned a long time ago. "This is what the MLP is doing right now. We are discussing internally as well as with interested sectors, ways of improving the health sector," he said.

Asked to give practical examples of what the MLP would be doing, Dr Farrugia said one of the options would be to give more access to private doctors to government clinics and the services offered there as well as to more tests available to those working in the private sector.

"As things stand, if a private GP wants to refer to someone to have particular tests made, he would have to refer him to the outpatients department first where he would again be seen by another GP who would then refer him. If the private doctor can refer straightaway, the workload on the outpatients would be less," he explained.

The MLP would also be setting aside an amount of money so that the backlog would be cut by 15 per cent a year, he continued, and both public and private facilities would be used to cut the backlog.

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