[WATCH] Busuttil pledges free chemotherapy, claims Muscat 'could privatise' Mater Dei

Simon Busuttil: 'Muscat's warning against nationalisation of Gozo hospital means he could one day sell Mater Dei'

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil (File photo)
Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil (File photo)

A Nationalist government will make chemotherapy free for all cancer patients no matter the cost, PN leader Simon Busuttil pledged.

Launching the PN's health proposals at a press conference outside Mater Dei, Busuttil warned that it is undignifying on cancer patients to beg for money for their treatment from the Malta Community Chest Fund.

"Cancer patients pay taxes and they shouldn’t have to worry about whether to sell their property to fund their treatment," he said. "Every cancer patient deserves free treatment, and if there isn’t enough money then we'll postpone works on other projects to fund their treatment if needs be."

Busuttil reiterated his pledge to re-nationalise the Gozo General Hospital, even if Vitals threatens to pull out of their investments at the St Luke's and Karen Grech hospitals.

"It’s a point of principle for us. Gozitans are furious that Muscat has sold off their only hospital behind their backs, and rightly so."

He criticised Muscat's recent warning that the Gozo Hospital's operations will no longer be viable if the government nationalises it.

"That comment betrayed Muscat’s viewpoint, which is anything but socialist," he said. "He's essentially admitting that he will privatise Mater Dei if its operations aren’t viable. Public services by definition provide a public service and should not be judged according to their viability and profit.

"Muscat can no longer promise not to privatise Mater Dei, and if he does then he cannot be believed."

Elsewhere, the PN promised to slash Malta's obesity rate to the EU average by 2027, with annual targets set every year.

“Malta has an obesity academic and a PN government will launch a national programme to counter it,” he said. “Health must be made a way of life.”

It will also build an acute mental health hospital near Mater Dei, provide free insulin sticks to type two diabetes patients, increase the food vouchers for coeliac people from €50 to €150, and open a one-stop-clinic for ME, fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome sufferers.

It will also expand and beautify the Addolorata cemetery and other cemeteries, build new health centres in the north and centre of Malta and offer tax breaks for people and companies who take out private healthcare insurance.

‘No need for embryo freezing’

Questioned by the press, Busuttil reiterated his opposition against Joseph Muscat’s call for embryo freezing, arguing that there is no need to update the country’s IVF laws.

“The current IVF law has been in place since 2012, when it passed in Parliament unanimously, which means that Muscat and [civil liberties minister] Helena Dalli had voted in favour of it,” he said. “It has worked so well for us that our IVF birth rate is comparable to those of other countries that have allowed embryo freezing. Why do we need to introduce embryo freezing, with all its ethical pitfalls, when the current law is already providing good results?”