Cabinet issues dispensation for minister to carry out surgery free of charge

Consultant endoscopic surgeon Jo Etienne Abela, the minister for the elderly, will be allowed to carry out operations for the NHS for a limited number of hours, without any payment

Jo-Etienne Abela
Jo-Etienne Abela

The Cabinet of Ministers has issued an authorisation that allows minister for the elderly, Jo Etienne Abela, a surgeon by profession, to perform a limited number of operations in the public health service, free of charge.

Ministers are not allowed by their Code of Ethics from peforming any private work but this applies “in so far as the Cabinet does not decide otherwise in exceptional cases where the national interest so requires.”

The Cabinet said it had evaluated a justification from the public health service that refers to a number of serious health conditions where the competencies of Abela, a Consultant Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgeon, are needed. The health service said Abela’s knowledge on the subject “was important to share with students and ensure that such services remain accessible in the future.”

“The evaluation was done according to article 7.2 of the Code of Ethics for Ministers,” the Cabinet said in a statement after it agreed that Abela’s service in surgery is “necessary in the national interest.”

Abela was not present for the Cabinet meeting during the discussion of the authorisation.

The authorisation given to Abela refers to a limited number of hours that are determined by medical needs. It applies to operations in the national health service only and will be done free of charge. 

Abela will not have his own patients and will be assisting other consultants.