Budget will increase medical brain drain – MAM - 21/10/2006

link to malta independent

Budget will increase medical brain drain – MAM

Judging by the measures announced in budget 2007, it seems that it is not the government’s priority that the Mater Dei hospital will open next year as previously announced, said the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) yesterday.

While the Prime Minister rightly acknow-ledged that the medical manpower of the health service is its greatest strength, MAM observed that no realistic measures were proposed to tackle the serious problem of medical manpower shortages that afflicts the service. Indeed, the budget will undoubtedly convince more doctors to leave our shores.

There are not enough doctors in the service, and this “scarce resource”, as the PM put it, is still being greatly drained overseas in increasing numbers, said the MAM. Waiting lists are getting longer, with all health service departments struggling to maintain a minimum emergency service.

The budget seems to perpetuate the mistaken notion that investment in health means pumping more millions of liri of people’s taxes into more construction, totally ignoring investment in the most valuable resource, namely the human resource and, more specifically, medical manpower, which is severely depleted.

Do we need more construction, asked MAM? It might artificially contribute to the growth of our GDP and make many contractors happy, but it will not reduce waiting lists or improve service, the association concluded.

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