UHM Voice of the Workers CEO Josef Vella’s eyebrows were raised when he was told that a medical training centre built in Gozo consisted of an investment of €35 million. “ From our calculations, the training centre should have been an investment of around €6 million”, said Vella.
In a video comment posted on Facebook, the Chief Executive Officer Josef Vella stated that during these past six years the Maltese government gave over €300 million to Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) and then to Steward Health Care who were given the concession of 3 public hospitals; Gozo General Hospital, Karen Grech and St.Lukes Hospital.
Between VGH and Steward Healthcare there was a sale agreement which was kept secret and which resulted in the concession of the 3 public hospitals for 99 years, sold for €1.
“It is worrying that they did not give any results and it is absurd that this private company (Steward Healthcare) can ask for more money as part of the concession agreement signed with the Maltese government. This does not add up” said Vella.
The union’s CEO explained how out of the €377 million €184 were used to pay wages, with the remaining €193 million we have not seen any form of improvement or investment in the 3 public hospitals who are now under the management of the private company. He also mentioned the discrepancies between wages of Steward Healthcare employees and government employees are still present and have not been addressed.
UHM the only union who never signed any agreement
The CEO of UHM Voice of the Workers said that the reason why as a union they didn’t sign agreements with the government is that after evaluating certain concerns raised by their members they never received answers.
“UHM stands by what had originally stated. We will not sign any agreements or deals with the government. We want to know the details of the deal and what they stipulate”
Josef Vella said that they have the responsibility to explain to their members what is to be signed and that they cannot inform them to abide by an agreement which consisted of blank pages.
Appeal to the Prime Minister
The union is appealing to Prime Minister Robert Abela to listen to the worries of their members and understand their anger for being treated differently. Josef Vella stated that it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to address their concerns. He also asked Prime Minister Abela to absorb these workers into the public sector.
Josef Vella raised the question; if as a country we need to invest in a particular sector, in this case, the health sector, such as to invest in new medical equipment or training to employees or to improve the service given, how is it possible that instead of buying the service, we give the concession of the 3 hospitals to a private company?
He concluded his comment stating that despite all the challenges the 3 hospitals are facing, the employees have been giving their utmost so that they provide the best service to the patients and this definitely not thanks to Steward Healthcare, said Vella.