L-0003-2024

Health Care Professions Act (Amendment of Fifth Schedule) Regulations, 2024


Magħluq għal Konsultazzjoni Pubblika

​Ministry:

Ministeru għas-Saħħa u l-Anzjanità Attiva

​Entity:

Ministeru għas-Saħħa u l-Anzjanità Attiva

​Published:

22/01/2024

​Running Till:

18/02/2024

​Last Updated:

18/02/2024




The Medical Specialist Accreditation Committee, within the Office of the Superintendence of Public Health, has requested the inclusion of a new speciality in the Fifth Schedule under Section ‘A’ MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS of the Health Care Professions Act (Chapter 464) in the Laws of Malta. 

To this effect, the Medical Specialist Accreditation Committee presented a draft postgraduate training programme in Medical Oncology. This training programme has the same common pathways for other medical specialization training programmes which are already in place. The programme for Medical Oncology specialisation will include a two-year Basic Specialist Training and a four-year Higher Specialist Training, which includes a mandatory one-year period abroad. The aim of working and training abroad is to gain experience in a different working environment with exposure to specific designated tumour sites.  The trainee needs to be in possession of MRCPUK Specialty Certificate Examination in Medical Oncology, or equivalent. 

The Medical Specialist Accreditation Committee is submitting that the main reasons for the inclusion of Medical Oncology as a speciality in the Health Care Professions Act is that ‘Oncology and Radiotherapy’ (Radiation Oncology and Clinical Oncology) is the only specialty currently recognised in Malta. Medical Oncology is the second sub-specialty in Oncology, recognised in Europe under EU Directive 2005/36/EC in Annex V and is an option for physicians, who wish to treat cancer patients without specialising in radiotherapy.  In many European countries, Medical and Radiation Oncologists work side by side to deliver a specialised service to patients. Hence inclusion of this sub-speciality will cover the main subspecialities in Oncology.

The Medical Specialist Accreditation Committee is also submitting that the Role of the Medical Oncologist differs from a Clinical Oncologist in the following ways: 
  • a significant involvement in research (laboratory and translational cancer research) especially clinical trials, which allows patients to access investigational anti-cancer treatments prior approval by the European Medicines Authority; 
  • possible dual accreditation with General Medicine; 
  • the introduction of Acute Oncology, which is a service yet to be developed in Malta; and 
  • having Medical Oncologists in Malta will allow Clinical Oncologists to further develop the radiotherapy service, including standard of care brachytherapy and stereotactic treatments
It is pertinent to note that the Medical Specialist Accreditation Committee has not proposed any change in the existing speciality of Oncology and Radiotherapy. The speciality, 'Oncology and Radiotherapy' encompasses Clinical Oncologists and Radiotherapists. Radiotherapists deliver radiotherapy only, whilst Clinical Oncologists deliver both radiotherapy and oncological systemic therapy.  The inclusion in the Health Care Professions Act of Medical Oncology will not in any way effect the role and duties of the Clinical Oncologists and Radiotherapists since a Medical Oncologist will be responsible for oncological systemic therapy only. 
 

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