MAM reaction to press reports on spot checks at St.Luke's hospital
The Medical Association of Malta(MAM) would like to make reference to press reports that a number of doctors have reported late for work. MAM recognises the right of the employer to enforce discipline and indeed make spot checks. However it sees no reason whatsoever why such information should be passed on to the press before adequate investigation and explanation from those concerned. This is completely unethical as it is an attempt to smear the whole medical profession.
One simply cannot issue statements as if someone is definetely guilty before any explanation can be given. One hopes that this is not being done for political expediency to put the blame of the shortcomings in the health service on the medical profession.
In the interest of the service and the good of the patient, doctors' work has always been flexible. Operations are being performed up to 6.00 pm when surgeons are supposed to stop work at 2.30pm. Furthermore in an effort to reduce waiting lists, non-urgent operations are performed on saturdays, sundays, and public holidays.
Consultants also accept extra patients to be added to their outpatient lists, so as to be able to deal with urgent cases, as well as those referred by the medical superintendent, customer care and the ministry. If the authorities want to impose rigidity of management on doctors' work, then the management will have to take full responsibility if all this extra work would have to be cancelled.
Surely there are more serious problems affecting the health service. For example outpatients' long waiting times are often due to unavailable files, blood tests or X rays.
The MAM has always tried to work positively with the authorities in the interest of the patient; however it cannot accept blame for the shortcomings of the service be put on the medical profession when the vast majority of doctors are giving dedicated, first class, and conscientious service.