Good Samaritan Hospital rebuts ‘unfounded claims’ on COVID-19 safety protocols

Hospital says claims are ‘unfounded’ and stem from misinformation and prejudice of hidden and political agendas

The Good Samaritan Hospital said that their facility is newly built and licensed to function as a hospital according to article 98 of the Medical and Kindred Professions Ordinance
The Good Samaritan Hospital said that their facility is newly built and licensed to function as a hospital according to article 98 of the Medical and Kindred Professions Ordinance

The Good Samaritan Hospital has rebutted “unfounded claims” that it was putting patients at risk, after Oppositions MPs alleged the hospital was not observing COVID-19 safety protoocls.

Hospital owner Louis Buhagiar, the former Labour MP, accused the MPs of “misinformation and prejudice by people who have hidden or political agendas.”

Buhagiar said his hospital had done an “excellent job”. “The least we expect, however, is that we do not also have to alleviate unfounded concerns among the elderly at GSH and their families which stem from misinformation and prejudice by people who have hidden or political agendas. It is only serving to fuel further anxiety among the affected elderly and their families,” he said in a statement.

The private hospital was contracted by the government to house coronavirus patients transferred from homes for the elderly. The hospital is run by the owners of St Thomas Hospital.

On Thursday, Nationalist MPs Maria Deguara and Stephen Spiteri clalimed the hospital was putting patients’ lives at risk because they were not observing COVID-19 safety protocols and were not equipped to handle COVID-19 patients.

“These reports are unfortunately based on recycled misinformation and are intended to alarm the public and patient’s relatives unnecessarily. It is a pity that at such a crucial juncture a good initiative intended to support the national health service and the elderly in particular, has now been shrouded in disingenuous news,” the hospital said in response.

The Good Samaritan Hospital said Malta was achieving “relative success” in containing the spread of COVID-19 in relation to other European countries.

It said the worst period of the pandemic in terms of transmissibility also coincided with flu season, which meant trying to make available as many hospital beds as possible.  

“Case in point, the Good Samaritan Hospital has been contracted by the government along with other facilities, for this purpose: to isolate elderly patients who test positive for Covid-19 in care homes and Mater Dei Hospital in order to care for them and minimise the risk of contagion,” they said.

However, the contract between the Good Samaritan and the health authorities is not public. The hospital pointed out that until recently positive patients were being left in close proximity to healthy elderly residents in care homes resulting in undesired consequences.

“Over the last month, GSH has cared for 160 COVID-19 patients. More than half have recovered and have since returned to their respective homes.”

The hospital said that contrary to claims, all shared rooms range from 22.5 to 29 square meters excluding bathrooms, which are all wheelchair accessible. This was in response to criticism that rooms were too small, and beds were not adequately spaced out to ensure social distancing.  

“At our practice, there are daily ward rounds manned by very dedicated consultant geriatricians, doctors’ nurses and carers who, contrary to what is being alleged, have never experienced any shortage of monitoring or supporting equipment. When patients do require more complex care such as intensive therapy, they are promptly transferred to Mater Dei Hospital. We never purported to offer critical care services,” the hospital said.

More in National