St Luke’s hospital to be transformed into ‘state of the art’ rehab centre

Vitals Global Healthcare the preferred bidders for €200 million investment into St Luke's Hospital, Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital and Gozo General Hospital  

Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) are the preferred bidders for the management and operation of St Luke’s Hospital, Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital and Gozo General Hospital.

The €200 million investment is expected to deliver a 180-bed “state of the art” rehabilitation hospital and a dermatology centre on the site of the former St Luke’s general hospital in Gwardamangia.

In total, three bids were submitted in reply to a call for proposals issued by the government in April for a services concession for the management and operation of the three hospitals. The other two bidders were Image Hospitals and BSP Investments Ltd.

The government is expecting to sign a deal with the Singapore based company by the end of the year and the works on the three hospitals are expected to start in 2016.

The junior minister responsible for health Chris Fearne told MaltaToday that the rehabilitation centre in Gwardamangia will “provide the country with a full compliment state of the art hospital.”

He explained that out of the 180 beds in the rehabilitation hospital, 80 will be available to government while the rest will be available for “medical tourism.” Fearne said these beds and a further 150 beds in the revamped Gozo hospital and 50 beds at the Karen Grech hospital will “relieve the pressure on Mater Dei Hospital” and free up more beds for acute patients.

The new private hospital in Gozo – for both Gozitans and medical tourists – will provide around 300 new acute beds adding to the existing 200 geriatric beds bringing the total of beds in Gozo to 450. The Karen Grech centre will meanwhile its beds increase by 50 to a total of 320, including 12 beds in a new dermatology centre.

Fearne said that VGH will be investing heavily in refurbishing the former St Luke’s hospital which has been in disuse for 10 years. The new hospital will offer rehabilitation and wellness services, including treatment in internal medicine, physical and occupational therapy, radiology, family counseling.

The hospital will also include facilities such as a new therapy pool and the latest technology used in the rehabilitation of patients.

Health and energy minister Konrad Mizzi underlined the importance of rehabilitation which plays a vital role in the successful return of patients to the community.

The three projects are expected to create around 1,000 new jobs and the agreement will see the private company renting the premises from government and paying for the services of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff provided by government.

On its part, government will be paying a fixed price and a small yearly inflation rate for 30 years for the beds provided by VGH.

Moreover, Fearne said that the privately managed hospitals will be obliged to abide by the standards set by national authorities and government will be beefing up its superintendence of public health which regulates public and private hospitals. 

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