‘We told you so’: Medical group wants government to recover all money from Vitals-Steward deal

The Medical Association of Malta says government must take all legal steps to recover all money from the Vitals-Steward contracts

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) said government must take the legal steps to recover all the money spent on the now-annulled Vitals-Steward contracts.

In a press release on Monday, the association said it was satisfied by Friday’s court decision which saw the government take back three privatised hospitals and released from further contractual obligation to continue paying the foreign investors who own the hospitals.

“MAM has from inception opposed such a so-called public-private partnership which was a complete sell-out of the rights of Maltese patients to an unknown company called Vitals Global Healthcare, which turned out only to be a scam by a handful of individuals,” the association said.

“This has resulted in the pouring of over €500 million with not even one foundation stone of a hospital being laid down.”

The association had twice ordered industrial action to ensure that Maltese doctors remained under the employment and authority of the government without any contractual relationship with either Vitals Global Healthcare or the concession successors Steward Healthcare.

“[We] repeatedly emphasised with former minister Konrad Mizzi and former prime minister Joseph Muscat that it was not in the national interest to enter into such a deal, especially when the opportunity came not to transfer the deal to Steward. These decisions led to the loss of hundreds of millions which should have been put into the medical infrastructure of the country.”

The association also claimed that Prime Minister Robert Abela tried to negotiate a way out of the day, but his predecessor Joseph Muscat, who after his resignation became a consultant for a company linked to Steward Healthcare, convinced the government of the time to stick the deal out.

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“MAM expects the government of Malta to decisively and clearly show that it is on the side of the Maltese patient and not on the side of fraudulent sharks, without fear or favour of those involved in this colossal debacle.”

On Sunday, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) also welcomed Friday’s court decision, stating that the three hospitals should have been returned to the government since promised investments by Vitals Global Healthcare and Steward Healthcare never materialized.

“MUMN now expects that all the monetary funds saved from this court verdict should be spent in investment in the Health Sector such as new wards at MDH and the much-needed refurbishment at Mount Carmel Hospital which has been left in a state of total neglect for these last ten years.”