Malta’s public sector dentists are currently entering the third month of a national strike, leading to the handful of practitioners to worry whether the public has even noticed. However, as concerns and frustrations intensify, one other group of professionals at Mater Dei has come out to clarify certain claims that were made in the heat of the moment.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, one dentist had alleged that foreigners are being brought in to replace them instead of having the government try to resolve the dispute. “And not EU members,” one dentist elaborated. “So supposedly, they should not even get a warrant, but they’ve already done this with anaesthetists in hospital, where they are allowed to work supposedly under the condition that they learn medical Maltese within a year. But if you go to hospital, all the anaesthetists you would find would not speak a word of Maltese, and there are a lot of Serbs working there right now.”
Now, the president of the Association of Anaesthesiologists of Malta (AAM) has reached out to clear the air
“Whilst not going into the merits of the dentists’ dispute, the realities for the anaesthetists are very different,” Dr. Borg told Lovin Malta. “For one, the majority of anaesthetists are actually Maltese, and are therefore fluent in the language.”
As for the claims of an influx of foreign practitioners finding work on the island, the AAM once again pointed at the very different situation in their department.
“There is a large demand for anaesthetists in general,” Dr. Borg said. “It is a rigorous process; they need to be medical doctors who then choose to specialise, and that normally takes six to seven years. Malta’s supply doesn’t meet the demand, which is why foreigners (both EU and non-EU) are encouraged to join.”
However, joining is not as simple as some people might’ve insinuated.
“All anaesthetists, but especially non-EU ones, are scrutinised by the Medical Council and the Specialist Accreditation Committee,” the AAM President continued. “In fact, most non-EU anaesthetists have and MQF Level 2 certification in the Maltese language for foreigners.”
“Incidentally, non-EU nationals – including Serbians – offer a high quality of service,” Dr Borg finished.