Steward Health Care has categorically denied any claims that is it planning to leave Malta should it fail to receive more government funding.
The denial comes just after Doctors’ Union head Martin Balzan came out swinging against the healthcare provider that runs a concession to manage three state hospitals.
Citing the claim through an unnamed source, Balzan said that public-private hospital system has “failed”, calling on the government to “cut its losses”.
Speaking to Business Today, Steward’s Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Communications, Alessandra Pace said:
“We have no intention of leaving. We’ve just delivered a €35 million project to the government earlier this week. It’s very clear we are here to stay and are putting money into the projects, we will be unveiling more plans as we go along.”
“We’re working to fulfil our contractual obligation in Malta Staff members sometimes may form their own opinions, but this hasn’t come from management.”
In a press conference two days ago, 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.
However, Pace said that Steward was requested to prioritise the completion of the Barts project, and the healthcare group had drawn up a master plan for the hospitals.
“These aren’t small facilities which are easy to build, building a hospital involves many aspects which have to be taken into consideration.”
“We’ve drawn up master plans for both the Gozo site and Malta sites, following consultations with stakeholders including doctors, nurses and professionals from across the industry. Those plans are now being finalised, and have been presented to the government, which has given us some preliminary feedback. We hope to be in a position to submit them to the PA for approval in the next few months,” she said.
Pace insisted that Steward was not looking for more government funding, stressing that the group was committed to delivering their contract.