To whom it may concern, The Malta Medical Studentsâ€™ Association (MMSA) represents all medical students reading for a Doctor of Medicine & Surgery at the Malta Medical School â€“ University of Malta (UoM). The main aim of the association is to be a voice for all medical students in order to safeguard their rights. Many members have voiced their concerns about the agreement reached between the Maltese Ministry of Health and the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) to open a new campus of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in Malta. The Malta Medical School currently hosts about 650 medical students distributed among the five years that make up the course, a number which has approximately doubled over the decade. Over 300 of these students attend hospital wards on a daily basis as part of the clinical experience. This amount of students is a very big number considering that Mater Dei hospital has less than a thousand beds in total and is the main teaching hospital in the country. The main concern of medical students at this point is that the introduction of a new medical school on the Maltese islands may directly affect their daily learning experience which may already be compromised by the increasing number of students admitted to the medical course. This may in turn result in less proficient doctors to care for the Maltese population. There is also concern to whether requirements to enter the two medical schools will be different to each other and if this would affect the current entry requirement of the UoM Medical School. The Malta Medical School has recently added a Maltese proficiency test for all international students entering the course of Doctor of Medicine & Surgery in order in satisfy the needs of all those patients who feel more comfortable expressing themselves in their mother tongue â€“ the Maltese language. Will this be part of the requirements for international students to join the medical course in the new QMUL campus? Another issue being medical students studying at the Malta Medical School are facing is the limited number of Foundation Programme posts being offered to newly graduated doctors in Malta. This year there were one hundred posts offered to the class graduating in 2014, merely enough to provide a job for all of them. With the class graduating in 2019 currently having about 190 students, there is concern that a good proportion of these students will not be offered a job in Malta. Furthermore, will the introduction of a new medical school compromise further the possibility of these hard working medical students to get hold of a job within the Malta Foundation Programme?
The Malta Medical Studentsâ€™ Association appeals to Ministry of Health to provide us with further information about how this agreement will impact medical students reading for a Doctor of Medicine & Surgery at the University of Malta. We also ask whether there has been any form of formal impact assessment done before such an agreement was made. Is the current infrastructure of the health sector strong enough to support a new private medical school and will the final qualifications be any different from those obtained by the current medical students?
Robert Cachia MMSA President 2013 â€“ 2014 o.b.o. the MMSA Board of Directors