Government to issue call for €16 million project to extend and restore Addolorata cemetry

Health minister says the government has secured some  €220 million in investments to make the country a centre of excellence

Health minister Chris Fearne at the Gvern li Jisma public consultation
Health minister Chris Fearne at the Gvern li Jisma public consultation

Health minister Chris Fearne has announced that the government will be issuing a call for a €16 million investment project in the Addolorata cemetry.

Speaking at a public consultation session under the Gvern li Jisma sessions, Fearne explained that the project would be a private investment, and that the call would be issued on the coming days.

“We hope the investment will oversee changes in administration, maintenance restoration projects as well as an extension of the Addolorata cemetry,” the minister said, adding that  the extension would see some 2,800 new graves added to the site.

He added that the entity chosen for the project would be required to use around €6 million on maintenance projects for the site, to restore it to its original glory.

Fearne said that the government wanted to make the country a sector of excellence in the health sector, by increasing efficiency at Mater Dei hospital including by making treatment more efficient at the Accident and Emergency department, and working to reduce the number of those receiving treatment in hospital corridors.

He added that one of the top priorities for the government had been to reduce waiting lists for operations, with knee replacement waiting lists falling from 8,000 to around 700 in three years both through operations carried out on Sundays and through agreements  with the private sector.

“We are determine to keep health services free and of high quality but we need to find ways to increase the income for the sector,” he said, explaining that the government was working towards strengthening medical tourism as a way to guarantee sustainable income for the sector.

“To this end, the government secured an investment with the private sector totalling to €220 million,” Fearne said.

He explained that the investment would oversee the rehabilitation of St. Luke’s hospital, Karin Grech hospital and the Gozo General Hospital, a new training centre for nurses,as well as the Bart’s medical school.

Fearne stressed that the services offered at St. Luke’s would remain free for Maltese patients, with the hospital being turned into a rehabilitation centre, and a section of it being used as a dermatology department.

He added that the ministry was also beginning a process to install solar panels at Mater Dei hospital, with the project aimed to be completed by the end of next year.

“The panels are expected to save us around 25-30% in funds used for powering the facility,” he said, adding that the investment sought to bring about cleaner and more health-friendly ways of powering the hospital.

Fearne went on to explain that the government would also begin offering dentistry services at Mater Dei hospital, with calls being issued in the coming weeks to secure agreements with the private sector, to outsource a number of procedures like fillings to private clinics, through public funds.

He added that the plans for a maternity and paediatric hospital close to mater Dei had been completed, with the government currently working on securing funding for the project.

“We are working towards securing more medicines on the register, but we need to approach this intelligently,” he said, adding that the ministry was discussing how effective the medications being imported were with international pharmaceutical companies.

He added that this would ensure that only medications that were truly efficient would be imported and offered on the register.