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frank_psaila
Frank Psaila

Is Muscat’s major investment in the health sector sustainable?

Investment in the health sector is an initiative which deserves praise and encouragement, however in this case, considering the magnitude of the investment involved, the government needs to ensure that the country is able to sustain it in the long term. 

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Frank Psaila
25 March 2015, 7:54am
Campaign mode: Joseph Muscat
Campaign mode: Joseph Muscat
This week, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced a major €200 million investment in Malta’s health sector. The now derelict St Luke’s Hospital in Guardamangia and the Gozo General Hospital are set for a major upheaval with investment by the private sector and the government to put them at par with Mater Dei Hospital. 

Investment in the health sector is an initiative which deserves praise and encouragement, however in this case, considering the magnitude of the investment involved, the government needs to ensure that the country is able to sustain it in the long term. 

Tomorrow, Paul Pace of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses is expected to hold a news conference on the matter and is reported to have already raised questions on the resources – not least human – that these projects would involve. This, added to the financial considerations and the sustainability of the health sector in the medium and long term need to be duly analysed before the government proceeds with this investment. 

The question stakeholders – including the Opposition – should be asking is: Is this investment sustainable?  

Building bridges

On the eve of the local elections, PN leader Simon Busuttil is doing his best to obtain a ‘decent’ result – which effectively means narrowing the gap between the two parties. Whether he’ll manage to do that remains to be seen. It’s an uphill. Three years away from the general election, Dr Busuttil is in the process of implementing further, and much needed changes within the PN. He needs time – having started from a huge disadvantage when he took helm two years ago. 

The Prime Minister is campaigning heavily, especially in Labour’s strongholds in the south of Malta, to get out his vote. Mid-term elections are always tough for the party in government – although recent polls show that Muscat still enjoys a significant lead over his counterpart. However, it is widely believed that the Prime Minister’s credibility has probably experienced a downturn following the Café Premier controversy and the highly questionable dealings with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR. Suffice it to add that Muscat has so far always proved to be resilient. 

Should Busuttil manage to narrow the gap between the two parties, and most importantly between himself and Muscat, that would be a very good and significant start for the PN. However, while obtaining a decent result at the local elections is important for the PN and Busuttil’s leadership, the PN would do well to look beyond the 11 April elections and focus its time and energy on where it matters most – building bridges with well meaning Nationalist Party supporters and middle of the road voters who, at the last general election, swayed away from the PN and voted Labour for the first time. The PN needs to continue reaching out to them – by building bridges. 

Beyond Fr Peter’s death

Three years ago, this week, Fr Peter Serracino Inglott passed away. He masterminded the rebuilding of the Nationalist Party under Eddie Fenech Adami’s helm and was instrumental in the social and cultural developments of our country.

Serracino Inglott’s contribution to the Nationalist Party helped to revitalise the PN which, at the end of the Borg Olivier era, was flat on its back. From a passive spectator, the PN under Fenech Adami’s leadership, and thanks, not least to his formidable consultant –Peter Serracino Inglott became a major protagonist in the most important and much needed changes that happened to our country from the late 1970s up to Malta’s membership of the European Union. I recall visiting him, towards the end of his life, surrounded by his books in his modest room at the Dar tal-Kleru in Birkirkara.

He was a visionary, an original thinker, a priest-philosopher who could think outside the box – from which the Nationalist Party benefitted greatly. It was when the PN became a passive spectator that it lost the plot and the people’s trust. Now that the PN is at the cross roads again, with a new leadership at the helm, it needs to ensure that Fr Peter’s vision – for a PN that is a protagonist not a passive spectator, a party that is able not only to understand the changes happening in Maltese society but be in a position to lead those changes – lives beyond his death.

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV. He was formerly...
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