‘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
‘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.”