Dr Grech’s removal: PN leader, doctors, academics, unions weigh in

Updated 09:24 AM

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, the Malta Health Network, the Malta Employers’ Association, the Faculty of Health Sciences and UĦM Voice of the Workers have all weighed in on Dr Kenneth Grech being transferred from his position as a public health consultant.

Yesterday, The Malta Medical Association (MAM) declared an industrial dispute with the government in view of the removal of Dr Kenneth Grech from his role as coordinator of the Covid-19 response team. Dr Grech was reported to have been removed from his role, in view of his advice of caution on the re-opening of the schools which last week led to a strike by the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT). This was denied by the government.

Industrial dispute as of next Thursday
MAM declares industrial dispute

“PM wants business-as-usual at all costs” – Opposition Leader

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=external&v=344486626519717

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said that Prime Minister (PM) Robert Abela wants to resume business-as-usual at all costs.

He stated that at such a critical moment, the PM is willing to face doctors’ industrial action as long as he can keep interfering in public health matters. Grech appealed to Abela to let the experts decide on what needs to be done.

Grech added that this shows that the PM is willing to risk the health of students, teachers, school staff and parents.

“Removal of the key co-ordinator does not put out minds at rest” – MHN

“We would like the assurance of the health authorities that decision making will continue to be transparent and evidenced-based as recommended by the public health professions and that the interests of patients and citizens at large will be safeguarded”, declared the Malta Health Network (MHN) in a letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne.

“Whilst we understand that there are other duties within the Ministry for Health removal of the key-coordinator does not put our minds at rest that Public Health is being given the due importance it deserves at this time in the country”, said MHN.

MHN represents 40 organisations working in the health sector. 

MEA expresses solidarity

The Malta Employers’ Association expressed its solidarity with Consultant Kenneth Grech. In a statement, MEA said that it is difficult to convince anyone that his redeployment is not related to his stand concerning COVID.

“The health authorities have to be completely impartial to any external influence that may interfere with their judgement, and this would be the wrong time to start questioning the credibility of the COVID Response team after the sterling work they have done since the outbreak of the pandemic” said the MEA.

“Health care professionals should be free to express their views” – Faculty of Health Sciences

The Faculty of Health Sciences extended its support to Dr Grech, a member of its academic staff, saying that the health care professionals should be free to express their views.

In a statement, the Faculty outlined that should the advice be based on accurate evidence, healthcare professionals should be free to express their views without fear of repercussions. This is because their role is to advise policy makers on the basis of of the best available scientific evidence with regards to action which should be taken to protect the wellbeing and health of the Maltese population. 

“Malta is a democratic country; professionals should not fear giving opinions” – UĦM Voice of the Workers

UĦM Voice of the Workers expressed solidarity with Dr Grech, noting that Malta is a democratic country and therefore every professional opinion must be given without fear.

It appealed for Grech to regain his job, saying that the consultant was not mistaken, but rather that some were not happy with his conclusion. His opinion was given on the basis of science, and therefore, his removal cannot be excused.

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