Brain Study - by Dr. M. Balzan
link to The Study
Study on Medical Manpower Migration
Dr Martin Balzan MD FRCP(lond) FEFIM
Ms Tessa Bugeja
Objective: To determine Medical Migration Figures as of September 2006.
Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Source of Data – Malta Medical Council register. Doctors graduating from 1992 to 2001 from the University of Malta, and registering as Medical practitioners from 1994 to 2003 with the Medical council of Malta were included.
Two doctors from each year of graduation currently residing in Malta, were
asked to give details on the current whereabouts and position of the doctors who graduated in their year.
Data was verified against the General Medical council UK database and the medline publication database. A google internet search was made of the names of doctors currently indicated as living abroad.
There were 328 doctors in the medical register. 3 doctors had
graduated abroad and registered for the first time in Malta. Data
for 3 doctors was unavailable or could not be confirmed.
Data was collected on 322 doctors (99.1%)
51.6% (166 out of 322) of doctors graduating in Malta left the
07.5% (24) or 2 out of every 15 doctors leaving Malta actually
17.7% (57) doctors became general practitioners
6.8% (22) doctors are currently in full time private practice
10.9% (35) doctors are currently working in the Health centres
62.7% (166 out of 265) or two out of three hospital doctors are
leaving the country
54.2% (13 out of 24) of returning doctors are currently in the
17.2% (17 out of 99) local hospital doctors are currently in the
Comment : Doctors studying abroad may have
better local career opportunities when they return.
Second possible explanation – doctors working abroad will only return if they see a good carrier prospect in Malta.
Yearly data – the EU effect
60%(96 out of 160) of all Doctors registering in 1997, 1999, 2001, left
72% (96 out of 133) of hospital doctors registering in 1997, 1999, 2001
6.7% (8 out of 119) doctors registering in 2001 2003 -became general practitioners
Full extent of brain seen after 5 years of registration
More doctors have left our shores, than previous 4 years, and
fewer and fewer chose life as a general practitioner.
Fewer doctors seem to be coming back as well.
2003 data – comment
Is the brain drain slowing down ?
Probably not enough time has passed since registration to see the full Extent of the
The UK seems to have shut its door to non-UK applicants in general surgery.
(certainly not in other specialities)
A number of doctors could be attracted to stay in Malta – as gradually more
structured post graduate training programs are introduced in the new hospital.
As the USA is facing manpower shortages tbe brain drain may shift from the UK
to the US.