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Wake up or lose your healthcare

Serious concerns have been raised by unions, doctors, other healthcare professionals, healthcare students, and most recently by 6th form students about the impact these privatisation deals will have on their services

22 March 2017, 11:13am
It is clear as daylight that many people from many spheres of Maltese and Gozitan society are deeply concerned by the ongoing, secretive, privatisation deals that the Health Minister is pursuing
It is clear as daylight that many people from many spheres of Maltese and Gozitan society are deeply concerned by the ongoing, secretive, privatisation deals that the Health Minister is pursuing
By Alexander Clayman

I am shocked to discover that the health minister is continuing to gleefully pursue an agenda to privatise three of the taxpayers’ valued hospitals – St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo General – despite the smokescreen of secrecy, lack of consultation and controversy surrounding the said contracts, which were signed by disgraced ex-health minister Konrad Mizzi.

I am also saddened by the news that two private companies, VGH and Barts, will be milking the Maltese taxpayer (and the resources built up by the taxpayer over the year) for money, in spite of no reliable promise of benefit for the people of Malta and Gozo. Should a government serve its people, or should a government use its people as pawns to allow private companies to make money?

Serious concerns have been raised by unions, doctors, other healthcare professionals, healthcare students, and most recently by 6th form students from Sir M.A. Refalo Sixth Form Centre in Victoria, Gozo, about the impact these privatisation deals will have on their services.

A spokesperson for Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin, which represents technical and engineering staff in these hospitals said: “I still cannot understand how VGH is ready to operate without having presented the contract in public. By contract, I mean the uncensored version of the agreement” (Malta Independent, 05/02/17).

Doctors, like the Medical Association of Malta’s Secretary General have raised concerns: “If we are introducing the American model, whereby profits come before anything else, patients could suffer” (Times of Malta 13/03/17)

Medical students have raised concerns about the negative effects privatisation will have on medical education “The repercussions of the privatisation of medical education in Malta, courtesy of Barts and all those facilitating them, will be insidious and will set the stage for further similar transgressions over time. The effects won’t be felt by us right now but by future generations” (Times of Malta 04/03/17)

Gozitan 6th form students have raised concerns about the fact that Barts Medical School will be occupying their school’s buildings due to delays in constructing their own facilities: “We are particularly concerned about the lack of space. We already have limited facilities - particularly the library, laboratory and other amenities. No one is telling us what is going on, and all we heard is that this was decided by the ministry in Malta” (Times of Malta 16/03/17)

It is clear as daylight that many people from many spheres of Maltese and Gozitan society are deeply concerned by the ongoing, secretive, privatisation deals that the Health Minister is pursuing. The entire population stands to lose out if our health system is mis-managed - this issue must be brought to prominence. All responsible Maltese and Gozitans must start talking about and questioning this dubious initiative.

Do we want our healthcare privatised?

Has privatisation of healthcare worked well in other countries?

Are we happy with what we know about VGH and their mysterious role in these three hospitals?

How much are Maltese and Gozitan people willing to sacrifice in order to allow Barts and VGH to line their pockets with taxpayers’ funds?

It is time to wake up. It is time for the ministers involved to be honest. It is time for society to unite and ask questions. These are our hospitals, our healthcare workers, our patients. We are them and they are us. We will fight for them.

Alexander Clayman is a medical student and a member of the Democratic Party executive

DealToday
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