[WATCH] Government procures 130 theatre sessions from St James Hospital

Public-private partnership with St James Hospital ‘to reduce waiting lists significantly’

Parliamentary secretary Chris Fearne and interim St James Hospital CEO Albert Micallef
Parliamentary secretary Chris Fearne and interim St James Hospital CEO Albert Micallef
Public-private partnership with St James Hospital ‘to reduce waiting lists significantly’

The parliamentary secretariat for health has entered into a public-private partnership agreement with St James Hospital in a bid to further reduce waiting lists at Mater Dei Hospital.

By way of the new agreement, the government will be hiring theatres at the private hospital for 130 operating theatre sessions.

“The agreement between the government and the St James group is designed to significantly reduce the number of people on the waiting list for intermediate operations,” parliamentary secretary Chris Fearne told a news conference at the hospital.

The issue of waiting lists had been of particular concern to the public.

"This new initiative will affect one of the three categories of operations," the junior minister said, pointing out that intermediate operations amounted to some two-thirds of the operations in the waiting list.

Fearne added that the government was also in talks to secure agreements for major operations in the coming weeks as well. He said that the government had already worked to reduce waiting time for diagnostic checks like MRI scans in recent months.

The minister also said that doctors employed by the government would be able to overcome the issues of space, one of the issues faced at Mater Dei.

St. James Hospital Interim CEO Albert Micallef said that the government had always shown faith in the private hospital’s services.

Talking about his fond memories of the hospital, Fearne said that an expression of interest had been issued in recent weeks for private hospitals to offer some of their theatres for the operations.

He further clarified that patients would not have to pay for this service.

“We have already started new initiatives to cut down waiting lists for intermediate operations like carrying out operations beyond 2pm and up to 8pm instead, and sometimes extending even to the weekend,” he said.

Fearne added that between January and June 2015, some 26,500 operations of the kind had been carried out, which marked over 1,000 more operations compared to last year.

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