Malta’s doctors’ union has come out swinging against the country’s “failed” public-private hospital system, calling on the government to “cut its losses”.
“The Medical Association of Malta is asking the government to cut its losses, and not to extend a deal, which has resulted in the proverbial ‘buying of fish in the sea’ and revert to the model which by its own decisions has been proven be the best,” the union said.
“The PPP model has failed, and this is acknowledged by the government itself as the new outpatient’s block, and the new psychiatric hospital will be financed and run directly by public funds,” the union said.
In a point by point statement, union head Martin Balzan bemoaned how the project entrusted to US-based Steward Healthcare has yielded poor results despite massive overspending.
“To date, the 200-million-euro investment in a new General Hospital in Gozo, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation hospital at Karen Grech, and a complete refurbishment of St. Luke’s hospital has not materialised. While both Gozo and Karen Grech are begging for basic maintenance, St. Luke’s is in a state of abandon,” he said.
He continued to say how official figures showed the government was now paying close to 50 million euro per year, excluding salaries, “meaning a 30-year expense of 1.5 billion”.
When it came to recently complete Barts Medical school, MAM noted that there appeared to be “major resistance by most hospital consultants to take up Barts students at Mater Dei.”
Balzan’s claims that the National Audit Office had not proceeded with an inquiry were denied by NAO, who said they are “presently conducting an extensive investigation of the agreements”.
The PPP to run three state hospitals is currently run by Steward Health Care having taken over from Vitals Global Healthcare just 21 months into operation in 2017.
The concession has long been controversial, having been the subject of several inquiries and court proceedings.