Fearne denies MAM comments about waiting lists

Parliamentary health secretary Chris Fearne says Martin Balzan's claims that hospital waiting lists was causing patients to give up on appointments, are "completely wrong".

Parliamentary health secretary Chris Fearne has reacted to comments made by Medical Association of Malta secretary general Martin Balzan in an article on the Times of Malta, saying that his claims are “completely wrong” and “misleading”.

In the article Balzan claimed that unreasonably long waiting lists at Mater Dei hospital had led to patients giving up on their appointments and that many patients were waiting for their diagnoses, leading to a reduction in waiting lists for operations.

The premise was categorically denied by Fearne, who went on to present facts that "completely negate this thesis".

“5,000 new operations were booked in out-patients in 2008, compared to 10,000 lin 2012,” Fearne said in a statement, adding that some 20,000 new cases had been booked for surgery last year.

The statement adds that the number of operations carried out at Mater Dei is always increasing, with some 53,000 being carried out in 2015, compared to 45,000 in 2012 and 36,000 in 2008.

 Fearne further added that MRIs and ultrasound procedures had also risen to 20,000 and 33,000 last year compared to 5,000 and 17,000 respectively in 2008.

Fearne further pointed out that the number of specialists at the hospital had also increased by 57 people, above and beyond those employed as replacements for retirees.

“Having said all this, however, we acknowledge that a lot of work still needs to be done to reduce out-patient waiting lists,” the statement reads, adding that the government was outlining a detailed plan to this end, to come into force in the second half of the year. 

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