Gozo hospital operators dismiss 468 workers in Ohio

Steward Health Care, which has been entrusted with running Karin Grech Hospital, Gozo General
Hospital, as well as St Luke’s Hospital, have closed down a the Northside Regional Medical Centre they run in Ohio. In comments to American media, Steward Health Care initially reported the loss of 388 jobs, but it was later reported that the count was actually 468.

The American for profit private hospital operator announced plans to close the Ohio facility in August. Steward said that “While other nearby hospitals have seen increasing numbers of patient visits in recent years, Northside has seen a 71 percent decrease over the past decade.”

The centre has been limiting their services throughout the past week, namely by closing it’s emergency room and not accepting labour and delivery admissions on 17th September. All remaining inpatients were subsequently transferred or discharged by 19th September.

This letter was sent to the employees informing them of the closure.

Steward Health Care’s timeline in Malta:

14th January – Medical Association of Malta (MAM) Secretary General Martin Balzan said that the government’s contract with Vitals Global Healthcare, passed on to Steward Health Care, is not with the patients’ or doctors’ interests in mind.

14th February – Socialist MEP Ana Gomes, who led a delegation visiting Malta in December 2017, said that privatisation of healthcare is counter-intuitive to socialism. The was said in answer to questions posed by Newsbook.com.mt regarding the government’s response to the delegation’s report following their visit.

20th February – Steward Health Care finalised the taking over of Vitals Global Healthcare, thus taking control of the three aforementioned Maltese hospitals.

23rd March – Steward Health Care announced the executive team led by Dr Nadine Delicata entrusted with running the three Maltese Hospitals under its operation.

10th April – The Maltese government and the MAM signed an agreement on the possibility of private healthcare, on condition of the Association being consulted.

5th September – PN blamed privatisation for the death of a patient.

6th September – MEP Francis Zammit Dimech deemed a lack of a diabetes nurse at Gozo General Hospital a “serious shortcoming”.

19th September – PN MP Chris Said published messages he received from a member of staff at Gozo General Hospital about the helicopter ambulance not working. The staff member was also ready to testify against the results of the enquiry undertaken by Health Minister Chris Fearne following the incident.