The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) said today that it is completely against the management of the public health system by the private sector.

MAM president Gordon Caruana Dingli said that doctors were issuing this warning now as the government was entering negotiations with a private bidder on the management of sections of the health service. It wanted to make sure that future problems between the government and doctors were avoided.

Martin Balzan, MAM general secretary, said that the MAM's view was that there should be a complete separation between what was public and what was private.

"This is a red line - what's public should be managed by the government and what is private should be private. There should be no blurred lines as this will produce confusion and possible abuse".

Dr Balzan said the government has promised MAM that it would be involved in the negotiations.

Asked whether the MAM has precise information on the government plans, Dr Balzan said that they don't.

The government recently announced a public-private partnership for the management of Gozo hospital and St Luke's Hospital.

It has also spoken of plans to privatise the management of Cospicua health centre.