Claudio Grech calls for 'common agenda' on health

Opposition MP Claudio Grech confirms bi-partisan approach, calls for common agenda to overcome health challenges.

Claudio Grech today presented the framework of policies and proposals to be discussed in the new Parliamentary committee on health, which is expected to meet for the very first time in the next few weeks.

The Opposition MP made it clear that "government policy will not decided by the committee," however he said that the PN would ensure that policies are implemented "in the best way possible."

Reiterating that the creation of the committee was only possible thanks to the consensus politics both sides of the House were showing on the health sector, Grech said that he was "pleased" by the government's "realistic" outlook.

"While we are duty bound to criticise the government, we do not base our criticism on sound bites but on evidence," he said.

Flanked by fellow MP Michael Gonzi, who will also sit on the five-member committee, Grech said that finally both sides of the House agreed to converge and have a "common agenda on the challenges in the health sector which the country will face in the next 20 years or so," adding that the PN will not use the committee as a political platform.

Confirming his bi-partisan approach, Grech said that these challenges, can only be overcome by prioritising investment in the hope that "in four years time, when the people are once again called to cast their vote, health will be in a better state than it is today."

He pointed out that resolving the ongoing industrial disputes between government and the unions, especially the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses. In recent months, the union has upped the ante and on various occasions issued harshly worded statements accusing the health minister Godfrey Farrugia of being "confrontational."

Asked whether MUMN was right in its incessant criticism, Grech said the union has always been "vociferous," however he expressed concern at the "increasing frequency" of disputes and the strong language used.

While noting that certain accusations leveled against government had not been clarified, Grech said the earlier these tensions are resolved the more time the government and all stakeholders have to resolve medium to long term problems in the sector. 

 "It would certainly be easier for us to sit back and let the government face the music alone, however we are willing to get involved and ensure that common ground between all parties is found and the tense climate comes to an end."

Pointing out that if no solution to the current impasse is found, Grech said that further industrial actions would have a negative affect on patients.

He also explained that the committee's terms of reference had been amended to allow stakeholders to participate in the decision making processes.

"Civil society and constituted bodies will have voice in Parliament," Grech said, adding that this will lead to a reduction in conflicts and misunderstandings.  

Grech said that other priorities which should be discussed by the committee include the distribution and purchase of medicines and the implementation of the Johns Hopkins report proposals.

.... dan mhu xejn u se joqghod jiddetta hu l-agenda ta' dan il-kumitat? mhux ahjar izomm postu u ma jippruvaw jindahal fejn ma jesghux biex taparsi qed jaghmilha ta' xi pacifista u ta' xi haruf gwejjed meta madwaru hemm hafna lpup, sriep u xakalli kollha b'imhatra bejniethom min l-aktar li jkisser u jfixkel u jharbat u min l-aktar li jmur ixandar ontra malta f-ewropa u min l-aktar jobzoq velenu, mibeghda u ghira kontra l-gvern laburista wara dik it-tkaxkira papali li qalghu sena ilu? Fl-ewwel gimghat tad-damdima baqghu ssummati imma issa taht it-tmexxija tal-bravu Simon Busuttil qed juru l-hdura li hemm fihom u li ghadhom infuskati li l-poplu warrabhom b'dak il-mod hekk car ......
At last!! This is a very encouraging development. This is how politics should be done. Yes there will be disagreements on the way but both sides should be able to sort out priorities quietly between them without any mud slinging. Well done and keep it up please. Health is too important!! After this is done we hope that other areas will also be tackled this way. There has to be give and take from both sides.
Finally, a man that makes a lot of sense (also Michael Gonzi tafx!) Bipartisan!!! What a wonderful sound for taxpayers and citizens to hear. What one administration achieves is not pulled down and replaced by the next one to govern. When will Xmunie and his other colleagues follow Claudio's example? I have no doubt he will be mercilessly attacked by greenish venomous witches, fat gluttonous losers and antique wet blankets! I do not know the man, so I could be wrong with my interpretation. After all, he was sponsored by and buddy buddy with a notoriously arrogant ex Minister; and completely hopeless in most Wistinu touched when you come down to it, although not those that Claudio was involved with. If this attitude develops to fruition, then good luck Claudio and Michael.