Shadow health minister faces inquiry over bogus sick certificates

Nationalist MP would sign medical certificates for patients without visiting the doctor at pharmacy

Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri
Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri

Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri will face an inquiry by the Medical Council after he was caught selling medical certificates for €5 each without seeing his patients first.

A public hearing has been set for October 15th.

An investigation by Lovin Malta revealed the racket at Brown’s Pharmacy in Kalkara where Spiteri is the resident doctor. Several phone calls were made on behalf of ‘patients’ wanting a medical certificate, without visiting the doctor: in all the phone calls, fictitious patients were given the green light to pick up their certificates the next day.

“Just come here and we’ll write a paper for him with your details, you pay €5 and then you come for it at about 7pm, tomorrow though, because he won’t be here,” the pharmacy told one of the callers.

The pharmacy even admitted that Spiteri never finishes the certificates on time because he has too many to sign.

Spiteri has denied selling the certificates. “Everyone needs to attend. Brown’s don’t take certificates by telephone. Only for who is chronically ill or is a patient that we know. Generally that’s how it happens.”

Spiteri recently spearheaded a motion against a government proposal to grant 100 hours of leave to couples who opt for assisted reproduction abroad. The PN lost the vote in Parliament with a third of Opposition MPs voting against the PN’s proposal. 

Spiteri was appointed spokesperson for health by outgoing leader Simon Busuttil, replacing Claudette Buttigieg who was appointed Deputy Speaker.

In 2011, Times of Malta had revealed Spiteri missed 81 per cent of parliamentary sittings, making him the MP who missed most sittings that year. 

A co-founder of Brown’s pharmacy Alexander Fenech clarified that the pharmacy does not make a cent from medical certificates and he would be looking at current procedures “to ensure everything is done in an ethical manner.”