Press Releases

Brain Drain – The honest Truth - 6/5/2005

MAM refers to comments by the Health Ministry that it has “no indications” that a
number of doctors are planning to leave St Luke's Hospital. In this context, MAM would
like to quote a statement by the Maltese Government at a Council of Ministers meeting
held in Brussels,
“Specialist health care resources are very limited due to the small numbers of specialist
doctors and are also relatively expensive resource to train and retain. The fact that
Malta already experiences a significant net outflow of doctors yearly, coupled with the
shortage of specialist doctors in certain Member States and these States’ capability of
offering grossly superior financial packages and career prospects would further
compound the situation for the Maltese health services”.
This very truthful statement was made in the context that a decrease in doctors’ working
hours with the removal of “opt outs” would seriously affect the delivery of the health
service. MAM hopes that it is not the government’s intention to adopt a policy of stating
the truth in EU fora and trying to hide it form the Maltese public.
The fragmentary, and partial data provided by the health authorities can only be
interpreted as a weak effort to produce a smoke screen for a very serious problem which
is quickly becoming worse. When up to 80% of cohorts of Maltese doctors having
already left the island, we cannot afford to keep digging our heads in the sand. Let us be
honest and deal with problems.
Dr Martin Balzan MD MRCP(UK) FEFIM

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