Vitals to get more than €40 million for Gozo and Karen Grech hospitals

Private operator will receive €24 million more next year from the government for running the Gozo general hospital and Karen Grech rehabilitation centre

Gozo general hospital is being redeveloped by Vitals Global Healthcare
Gozo general hospital is being redeveloped by Vitals Global Healthcare

The hospital concession agreements with Vitals Global Healthcare to run the Gozo and Karen Grech hospitals will cost taxpayers more than €40 million next year.

According to the financial estimates with Budget 2018, the government will be paying the private company €28.2 million for the running of the Gozo general hospital.

This represents an increase of almost €16 million on the amount government is expected to fork out by the end of this year for the Gozo hospital concession.

The concession agreement for the Karen Grech rehabilitation centre is expected to cost taxpayers €12 million next year, an increase of €8 million on what government will fork out in 2017.

Vitals Global Healthcare was granted a 30-year concession agreement to operate the Gozo, St Luke’s and Karen Grech hospitals in a public-private partnership. The company is expected to invest millions to rebuild the Gozo hospital and refurbish St Luke’s and Karen Grech for use as private hospitals.

The concession agreement will see the government buying beds and services from Vitals.

However, the budget estimates also include a separate provision of €11.5 million for Karen Grech rehabilitation centre, which is listed under “contributions to government entities”.

This amount represents an increase of half-a-million euros over this year’s expense and it is unclear whether this money will also go to Vitals.

The health budget also includes provisions for an unspecified “Gozo private-public hospital” expense of €1.2 million, which is a repeat expense from 2017.

These expenditures form part of the more than half-a-billion euros the country will be spending on health next year.

The estimates also show that government will spend €155.8 million on salaries in the health sector of which €13.6 million are earmarked for doctors and nurses in Gozo.

Under the terms of the concession agreement with Vitals, health workers at the Gozo and Karen Grech hospitals will remain on the government books.