Steward Health Care International President Armin Ernst claimed that the completion of Bart’s Medical School in Gozo has not been delayed, in spite of the fact that the project was meant to be ready by 2016.
Ernst admitted that while the newly inaugurated Centre of Anatomy was ready, Gozo’s medical school was half-way through.
Addressing the opening of the anatomy centre, Ernst said that Steward Health Care was the caretaker of the hospital in view that this was a public private partnership with the Government. Prior to Steward Health Care International, Vitals Global Healthcare was the first company to enter into an agreement with the government. However VGH had no prior experience in the healthcare sector when it took over the public hospitals. Ernst on his part was the Chief Executive Officer of Vitals Global Healthcare.
“We want to give excellent healthcare services”
Ernst claimed that as a PPP, the company never really owns it, and that the company in their view they had to take care of it since they would have to return the operations of the hospital to the government after 30 years. He stated that given its healthcare they would have to make it great and excellent.
Vitals Global Healthcare had won the concession and took over St Luke’s Hospital, Karin Grech and Gozo General Hospital. The company had paid €3 million to the government for the concession and had to invest some €200 million, and allocate space for medical tourism. Partit Nazzjonalista had said that the government had entered into an agreement of which details had been kept secretive and was worth more than €2.1 billion.
According to Dr Martin Balzan, Secretary General of the Medical Association of Malta, during a meeting held between MAM and the government, the government had agreed with MAM that the PPP model used with VGH was a failure and that if there had to be another PPP it would have been different.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne were at odds on at which stage the negotiations arrived, with the former claiming that they were concluded and the latter saying that they were still at a negotiating stage.