Confusion is reigning over a medical school that is set to be built between Mater Dei and Campus Hub, the construction of which stopped halfway through.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, the original medical school facilities such as the library and staff canteen have been used as makeshift wards. Although most COVID-19 restrictions have since been lifted, the medical school has not returned to students as the makeshift wards are helping to solve a greater problem of bed space at Mater Dei.
The new medical school is meant to include multiple lecture rooms, study spaces, and medical simulation rooms with patient mannequins, which are used to emulate a clinical scenario. The facilities were originally meant to be completed at the end of 2022, but progress has stalled, leaving medical students without proper facilities which are critical to the quality of medical education in Malta.
MMSA representatives Martina Chetcuti and Nicholas Galea as well as Vassallo Group director Chris Vassallo have warned that the halt in progress is due to a lack of direction and funding from the University of Malta as well as the Government.
Vassallo, who has built six of the eleven proposed stories to the project, told Lovin Malta that the project, including the planning permit, is ready to go ahead once funding is secured.
He said that if continued immediately, it would take around 18 months to complete, but is contingent on direction from the Government or University of Malta.
MMSA fears that if funding is not secured, Campus Hub LTD (a subsidiary of Vassallo Group) will no longer be obligated to use the space as a medical school, which would prove disastrous for medical students in Malta.
“Political promises should be ironclad, not swept under the rug to be forgotten about,” MMSA said in a public petition.
“We are not going to forget this, and neither should you. To make one thing clear: it is an absolute shame that the future of adequate public medical education is being left entirely in the hands of student organisations to fight for, however this is what happens when political promises are broken, and we are more than willing to carry on this fight until what was promised back in 2019 is delivered.”
MMSA and MHSA have urged Health Minister Chris Fearne, Education Minister Clifton Grima, the University of Malta and Campus Hub Ltd to come to an agreement and secure the appropriate funding for the new medical school building to be completed.
This would allow over 1,000 students, administrators, and lecturers to have the space they so desperately require, whilst simultaneously freeing up space for even more hospital beds to be placed in the original medical school’s place.
Cover photo: Left: The current state of the new medical school, Right-top: Vassallo Group director Chris Vassallo (Photo: Vassallo Group), Right-bottom: Medical students at a recent protest, photographed by Third Eye Malta
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