Doctors facing disciplinary measures are seeing their cases taking much longer than necessary as the Medical Council, which is responsible for taking action against malpractice, has not held a single hearing since February, according to its own admission.
It was on January 25th that the Medical Council met for a public hearing regarding a case from 2016 of which the details are not known. And then on February 13th the Council met again to deliver a decision of a similarly unnamed case from 2015.
All other cases seem to have stalled for months, including high profile cases such as that involving Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri, who was caught red-handed giving out large numbers of medical certificates without seeing his patients. His case made headlines in November 17th after recordings emerged exposing his racket, but apart from one or two hearings, the case has been left pending now for close to two years. The Medical Council has refused to answer questions about the delays in the case of Spiteri.
When asked why the Medical Council hearings have stalled in general, a spokesperson for the Medical Council confirmed that the only two hearings held so far this year where those mentioned on its website, and then added: “Moreover the term of the elected members expired in May 2019, following election results, the Council is reconstructed as of today.”
In fact, on July 9th, the board members elected by the medical community took office. These are: Joseph Cassar (himself a former Nationalist MP), Michael J. Boffa, Ian Baldacchino, Doreen Cassar, Bryan Flores Martin and Tanya Melillo Fenech, as well as Anthony Charles and David Muscat representing dental surgeons.
The council also comprises another four members who are appointed by the Prime Minister, including president Ilona Debono, Pauline Vassallo, and Philip Borg and David Caruana, who are meant to be representatives of the public even though they too are appointed by the Prime Minister. A thirteenth member, Daniel Farrugia, is appointed by the University of Malta.
Despite electing its new members over a month ago, the Medical Council’s website still shows the hearings of January and February as its “scheduled dates” for upcoming hearings or decisions.