‘We love Malta and we miss home but we also love what we do’

You em­body the spirit of sol­i­dar­ity that we must foster in our com­mu­ni­ties and across our coun­try’ – Pres­i­dent Coleiro Preca

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Rachel At­tard from Lon­don

‘We love Malta a lot and we miss home but we also love our jobs.’ This was the gen­eral mes­sage that Mal­tese doc­tors who prac­tise in var­i­ous hos­pi­tals around the UK told The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day. Reg­is­tered with the Malta High Com­mis­sion in the UK, there are 60 Mal­tese med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als vary­ing from sur­geons and sci­en­tists to doc­tors and nurses. Of th­ese, 15 work in Lon­don and some of them have also con­tacts with Mal­tese pa­tients who go to Lon­don for treat­ment. How­ever, this news­pa­per has learnt that there are a num­ber of other Mal­tese doc­tors work­ing in the UK who have never reg­is­tered with the em­bassy. the heart, negat­ing the need for open-heart surgery. In ad­di­tion to his work in the UK, he also trav­els to other coun­tries around the world, in­clud­ing Malta, to carry out surgery and also to lec­ture on car­di­ol­ogy at var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties.

Orig­i­nally, back in 1975, the pro­fes­sor’s in­ten­tion was to go to the UK for spe­cial­ist train­ing and then re­turn to Malta. How­ever, he said that in the early 1980s there was no guar­an­tee that the right equip­ment would be ac­quired by Malta’s state hos­pi­tal “So I de­cided to con­tinue prac­tis­ing my spe­cial­i­sa­tion in the UK. Hav­ing said all this, I do miss Malta a great deal.” Prof. De­gio­vanni, who was re­cently in Malta, praised the Car­di­ol­ogy Depart­ment at Mater Dei Hos­pi­tal, say­ing: “We Mal­tese have made huge progress, and I am very proud of it.” This was the mes­sage that Pres­i­dent of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca de­liv­ered to a num­ber of Mal­tese doc­tors who, to­gether with other for­eign spe­cial­ists, were present at a re­cep­tion at the Malta High Com­mis­sion in Lon­don. Speak­ing on be­half of Mal­tese pa­tients who have re­ceived med­i­cal treat­ment in the UK, the Pres­i­dent thanked the doc­tors for their work and ded­i­ca­tion they show.

Ex­press­ing her ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the Malta Com­mu­nity Chest Fund Foun­da­tion, Mrs Coleiro Preca said: “The Malta Com­mu­nity Chest Fund Foun­da­tion is in­valu­able in pro­vid­ing much-needed fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to peo­ple in need of th­ese ser­vices. As well as sup­port­ing pa­tients go­ing abroad for treat­ment, the MCCFF also of­fers fi­nan­cial, ma­te­rial and pro­fes­sional sup­port to peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties be­cause of se­vere chronic ill­ness, those with dis­abil­ity and those liv­ing in poverty.”

The Pres­i­dent pointed out that the Fund spends over a quar­ter of a mil­lion eu­ros each month on pro­vid­ing this as­sis­tance and sup­port, and in or­der to be in a po­si­tion to do so, the MCCFF re­lies on the gen­eros­ity of the peo­ple of the Mal­tese Is­lands, as well as the so­cial con­science of pri­vate sec­tor con­trib­u­tors.

She said: “It is es­sen­tial that the ef­forts of all of us keep the dig­nity and well­be­ing of each mem­ber of so­ci­ety in mind. We must strive to en­sure that ev­ery­one, par­tic­u­larly those who are vul­ner­a­ble or at risk of ex­clu­sion, are em­pow­ered to achieve the best qual­ity of life pos­si­ble.”

Pres­i­dent Coleiro Preca said the pro­vi­sion of th­ese ser­vices is fur­ther proof of the strong ties that link Malta and the UK through the bi­lat­eral health agree­ment that was es­tab­lished in 1975. She pointed out that while Malta con­tin­ues to strive for ex­cel­lence in many ar­eas of med­i­cal spe­cial­i­sa­tion, there are still in­stances where more tar­geted and spe­cialised care is re­quired, which is more read­ily avail­able in the UK.

spe­cial­ist train­ing. She was awarded a re­search de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don at the Depart­ment of Surgery at King’s Col­lege Hos­pi­tal and the Depart­ment of Metabolic Medicine at Ham­mer­smith Hos­pi­tal, Lon­don.

Mrs Borg com­pleted her spe­cial­ist sur­gi­cal train­ing in up­per GI, gen­eral and bari­atric surgery in the Lon­don and North-East Thames Dean­ery.

In 2012, she was ap­pointed Con­sul­tant Sur­geon at Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, Lewisham. “I op­er­ate on peo­ple who have an obe­sity prob­lem. This has noth­ing to do with cos­metic surgery: we help pa­tients who suf­fer from this con­di­tion, which is on the rise.” When asked if her job brings her in con­tact with Mal­tese pa­tients, Mrs Borg said that as her clinic is in the south of Lon­don, where a num­ber of Mal­tese peo­ple live, she some­times meets them.”

To the ques­tion of whether or not she would con­sider com­ing back to Malta one day, Mrs Borg said she would like to do so. She hopes that her area of spe­cial­i­sa­tion in­creases in Mal­tese hos­pi­tals, be­cause obe­sity is also a prob­lem in Malta. At the end of the con­ver­sa­tion, Mrs Borg said that if she had the op­por­tu­nity of work­ing in her spe­cial­ist field, she would def­i­nitely re­turn.

‘I am a Gen­eral Prac­ti­tioner’– Dr An­ton Ray­mond Borg.

Dr An­ton Ray­mond Borg, who is from Sliema, said it never crossed his mind that he would not re­turn home af­ter com­plet­ing his train­ing in Lon­don. How­ever, af­ter fall­ing in love with an English girl – who was also a doc­tor – he de­cided to stay in the UK.

Dr Borg, who is a fam­ily doc­tor in Cirences­ter, Glouces­ter­shire, left Malta in 1978 dur­ing the doc­tors’ strike. At the time he was a med­i­cal stu­dent and he had to de­cide what he was go­ing to do with his life. To­gether with a group of med­i­cal stu­dents he came to Lon­don, grad­u­ated as a doc­tor, and be­gan work­ing in gen­eral prac­tice.

Dr Borg is not just a fam­ily doc­tor but also trains other stu­dents to be­come gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers. He told us that there is a small group of Mal­tese peo­ple liv­ing in his town and he is their fam­ily doc­tor. He said that he loved and missed Malta a lot “and when there is an event in Eng­land in which my home coun­try is in­volved, I al­ways at­tend: I feel very pa­tri­otic to­wards Malta.”

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