[WATCH] Adrian Delia vows to get back privatised public hospitals

The Nationalist Party leader accuses Robert Abela of dilly-dallying on pulling the plug on hospitals deal concession

Adrian Delia (File photo)
Adrian Delia (File photo)

Adrian Delia has vowed to give back to the public three hospitals that were privatised by the Labour government in a deal that has cost taxpayers millions of euros.

The Opposition leader was in combative mood on Sunday morning when he addressed party supporters at the Żabbar Nationalist Party club.

Coming on the back of a tumultuous two weeks, during which he had to contend with internal strife, Delia accused the Prime Minister of dilly-dallying on the hospitals deal by appointing a review committee rather than simply pulling the plug.

The PN leader said it was clear that the previous owners, VGH, an obscure company, had ran off the millions it received without having anything to show for.

“It doesn’t take a lawyer or a judge to understand immediately that these people were on this deal to rob us but Robert Abela does not seem to have realised this yet,” Delia said.

The Gozo general hospital, St Luke’s and Karin Grech were given on a long-term concession to Vitals Global Healthcare, which had to invest €200 million to build a new hospital in Gozo and refurbish the other two.

None of this happened and VGH sold out after it went belly up. The new concessionaire, Steward Healthcare, now wants to renegotiate the deal and is asking for more public money.

Delia has gone to court to have the deal cancelled and the case is ongoing.

“I will get the hospitals back for the people. It is my pledge and I will manage,” Delia said to applause.

He also accused Abela of adopting two weights and two measures when he kept Michael Farrugia as minister despite knowing of abuses in the police force.

Farrugia was home affairs minister in the Muscat administration and was quoted saying that whenever he received reports of abuse, he always passed these on to the police commissioner for investigation.

An internal investigation kicked off in earnest last December when a whistleblower lifted the lid on widespread abuse in the traffic branch.

Delia claimed Abela had known of the abuse but still chose to appoint Farrugia minister in his reshuffle last month, unlike former Gozo minister Justyne Caruana who was asked to resign.

“The onus of this chaos in the police force is on Robert Abela. The lack of discipline has allowed everyone to do what they want and as a result it is the people that suffer,” Delia said as he saluted the many other police officers who performed their duties with honesty.