Left: MAM secretary general Martin Balzan, right: Opposition MP Stephen Spiteri
The secretary general of the Malta Medical Association (MAM) has said he is aware of but hasn’t yet heard a recording, published by Lovin Malta last November, which showed how shadow health minister Stephen Spiteri has been selling medical certificates without seeing his patients.
“I haven’t heard the recording so I cannot comment,” Martin Balzan said, when asked by this website whether he was surprised at the accusations being levied at Spiteri, a Kalkara-based GP.
Balzan said he cannot comment on the alleged abuse until the Medical Council, which is looking into the case, comes up with a final report. He also confirmed that he had personally never heard of the alleged abuse until it was published on Lovin Malta and other media.
“What I can say is that Stephen Spiteri is a very popular doctor in Cospicua, an area which is not socially upmarket,” he said. “When doctors are popular in low-income areas, it is usually because they have a good social conscience. When doctors who work in the private sector are in high demand, as Spiteri is, it reflects that they are giving a good service.”
Six weeks ago, Lovin Malta posed as a patient and called the pharmacy at which Spiteri is resident to ask for a medical certificate from the GP. The receptionist confirmed patients could just leave a note with their details at the pharmacy, pay €5 and pick up the signed medical certificate in the evening.
The Malta Medical Council is looking into the case and has contacted Spiteri for his version of events. If it finds enough evidence, it will launch a formal inquiry.
The MAM yesterday held a press conference, demanding the government put the planned sale of Vitals Global Healthcare to Steward Healthcare on hold pending an investigation into VGH by the Auditor General.