The head of the ophthalmology department at Mater Dei Thomas Fenech is insisting that contrary to what Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said yesterday, his department can still perfectly cope without the services of Parliamentary Secretary Dr Franco Mercieca saying that ”he is not indispensable”.
Dr Fenech insisted that the prime minister’s argument to grant Dr Mercieca a waiver from the minister code of ethics which states that members of cabinet cannot carry out their profession while in office, casts serious doubts on the abilities of the ophthalmology team at Mater Dei.
He challenged the prime minister to highlight which procedures cannot be performed by other ophthalmologists rather than Dr Mercieca, bluntly describing Dr Muscat’s statement as “false”.
Dr Fenech also denied reports that he has a personal agenda against Dr Mercieca, saying that in his time as head of department he “tried to bend backwards to keep Dr Mercieca happy and accommodate him.”
Regarding certain comments on the fact that his wife, Anne Fenech is involved in the Nationalist Party, Dr Fenech said that this does not mean that he has to refrain from expressing himself.
He added that he has no problem if Dr Mercieca continues to form part of the ophthalmology team at Mater Dei, but at the same time reiterated that it is unacceptable for somebody to state that his colleagues lack the necessary professional skills to cover for his absence. As a matter of fact he said that during the eight week election campaign, Dr Mercieca’s patients were handed over to his colleagues and the transition was smooth.
Dr Fenech concluded that he will not budge from his stand, since he feels it is his duty to state the facts.