Prime Minister Robert Abela said that no decision has been taken on the renegotiation of aspects of the contract by which Steward Healthcare Malta on the privatisation of three Maltese public hospitals.
Abela was asked about Newsbook.com.mt, whether the government intends on renegotiating aspects of the deal or pull out of the contract altogether, the Prime Minister said that he was doing a thorough stock take of the situation.
On Tuesday, the president of the Medical Association of Malta, Martin Balzan, said that the government reiterated the association’s position that the contract should be annulled when interviewed on Newsbook Hour. Balzan stressed that the taxpayer reaped no benefit from the private-public-partnership and instead it resulted in the draining of public funds.
Earlier this month, disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who resigned on 13 January accompanied Steward Healthcare International’s president Armin Ernst for a meeting with Abela and Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne, local media reported. Abela had said that Muscat did not represent the US-based healthcare giant at the meeting, but merely facilitated it.
Steward Healthcare acquired the 30-year concession offered by the government to the hitherto-unknown Vitals Healthcare Group, for an undisclosed sum. The concession involves the running of three previously state owned hospitals: the Gozo General Hospital, Karin Grech and St Luke’s Hospital.