Steward Health Care has dismissed claims that it plans to leave its Gozo operations as “purely speculative”.
“As is common knowledge, Steward Health Care Malta has been engaged in active discussions with the Government over the past months and discussions are still ongoing.”
“Steward Malta reiterates its commitment to all three hospitals under its responsibility – Gozo General Hospital, Karin Grech Hospital and St Luke’s Hospital – for the benefit of its patients, staff and the communities that it serves,” Steward said in a statement.
Earlier today, Gozitan MP Chris Said claimed that Steward was leaving its operations by the end of the month. He called on the government to return the concession to the state.
Steward Healthcare was brought in to save a failing concession granted to Vital Global Healthcare to manage the operations of three state hospitals, the Gozo General Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital and Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital.
VGH was forced to sell off their operations to Steward Healthcare just 21 months after starting amid growing financial debt, which stood at €36 million by the end of 2017. Its CEO, Ram Tumuluri, reportedly still made off with a €5 million bonus.
It has been revealed that the government signed a memorandum of understanding months before a request for proposals was even announced. Disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi led the project.
An un-redacted contract revealed that taxpayers were paying VGH around €188,000 a day (€70 million a year) to provide hospital beds to the state, €1.2 million a year for the Barts medical school and a further €1 million for their helicopter service.
Steward Healthcare was brought in to replace them. They were given certain assurances by the government, namely Mizzi and then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat when they were brought in to save the failing concession.
This included a massive €100 million buyout should the concession be rescinded and a secret €8 million bank guarantee (which has since been waived).