11 May 2005

The Web

Doctors’ association warns of brain drain

The Medical Association has hit out at Government for denying there was a medical brain drain which could have serious consequences on St Luke’s Hospital.
Referring to comments made by the Health Ministry that it had “no indication” that a number of doctors are planning to leave St Luke’s Hospital, the MAM pointed out that Government was talking differently in European fora.
The Association reproduced a statement by the Maltese Government at a Council of Ministers meeting held in Brussels, which said: ‘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’.
The Medical Association said that Government made this statement 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 from 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,” MAM President Martin Balzan said.

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