Third year medical students at the University of Malta were denied placements this week as a direct result of the strain being put on Mater Dei’s academic staff by the influx of students from Barts Medical School, two student bodies have lamented.
The Malta Medical Student’s Association (MMSA) and the University’s Student Council (KSU) said in a joint statement that University of Malta students had been denied their gastroenterology placements due to a lack of consultants at Mater Dei Hospital, something which they called “a direct result of the fact that Barts Medical School students were occupying two consultants for their placements, also in Gastroenterology.”
“It is now abundantly clear that the new influx of Barts Medical students is already putting a strain on the system and is denying UM students full access to the academic staff at Mater Dei”, the joint statement read.
“The MMSA – KSU Taskforce dealing with this matter had already raised its preoccupation with the Ministry for Health about the possibility of such occurrences. We are disappointed to see that the valid concerns of the medical students at UM were not taken seriously”, it continued.
They said that a document entitled ‘Request and Safeguards’ was adopted by MMSA in April 2019 before being subsequently endorsed by KSU and presented to the Ministry for Health.
A salient point in this document is adequate use of teaching staff, the statement read.
“This document was presented to the Ministry for Health yet no written assurances were given and no arrangements were made to ensure that no clashes occur. Another document drafted by the MMSA – KSU Taskforce listing necessary improvements in medical education in light of this influx of students was also presented. Here also, we are yet to receive a formal reaction to this document from the Ministry”, the taskforce said.
They noted that Barts Medical School is not yet operating at full capacity, and that this incident “further exacerbates our concern that as student numbers increase, these incidents will become more frequent to the detriment of the quality of medical education at UM.”
“In the past weeks we have formally asked for another meeting with officials from the Ministry for Health on these issues, unfortunately as of today, our request has been ignored”, they said.
The taskforce had addressed a press conference about this subject at the end of last September, where they said that the Health Ministry had not given them any assurances that the education of students at the University of Malta will not be compromised by the addition of students from Barts Medical School.
The association had also commented about the issue the May before, saying that wards used for medical rounds were already crowded and that adding more medical students would make the experience “irreparably worse”.
Original article found on The Malta Independent