Doctors term hospital activity report 'partial' and 'misleading'

Medical Association of Malta expresses disappointment over "partial or misleading information” provided in the hospital activity report

The Medical Association of Malta has said it is disappointed at the “partial or misleading information” that is provided in the hospital activity report and responses by the government to the press.

“There is no data whatsoever in the report on the current relation between the demand and supply for services. The relation between these two will determine whether waiting lists are increasing or decreasing,” MAM secretary general Martin Balzan said in a statement earlier today.

The statement comes after parliamentary health secretary Chris Fearne reacted to comments Balzan made with the Times of Malta, about the report. In the article, Balzan alleged 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, a claim that was categorically denied by Fearne, who presented a number of figures showing that surgical operations and interventions had increased at the hospital.

Balzan pointed out that the report contains “no data whatsoever about surgical operations”.

“It is clear from the admission data that demand is in constant rise, driven by migration tourism and an increase in the elderly population. However anybody who tries to make an appointment with any of the major medical specialties will realize that there are very few with waiting lists less than one year long,” he added.

MAM also reacted to Fearne’s claims that the number of specialists at the hospital had increased by 57 people, above and beyond those employed as replacements for retirees, and the association pointed out that information on the government gazette showed that in 2015 only 5 new consultant were appointed, 3 being in the department of anaesthesia of whom one in Gozo, one in sports medicine, and one in gastro-enterology, while another 3 were replacements.

“This means that there was virtually no expansion in all other medical and surgical specialities.”

MAM further urged the health authorities to publish realistic data, and start planning how to tackle the ever-increasing problem, in patients’ interest.

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