‘Dubious hospital’ deal resulting in workers being laid off – PN

The Nationalist Party accused Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of not being dishonest when he said employees would keep the same working conditions after the transfer

Last month Steward Health Care bought a majority stake in Vitals Global Healthcare, taking over the concession for the running of three of Malta's public hospitals
Last month Steward Health Care bought a majority stake in Vitals Global Healthcare, taking over the concession for the running of three of Malta's public hospitals

The Nationalist Party has accused Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of being dishonest with workers at Karin Grech, St Luke’s and Gozo General hospitals, who had been told they would retain the same working conditions under Steward Health Care.

“Not only did 17 workers not keep the same working conditions, but they were fired from their workplace,” said the PN in a statement. “The Nationalist Party expresses solidarity with these workers.”

In its statement, the PN said that the “dubious deal” through which the government had sold the three public hospitals had negatively impacted the taxpayer, patients and hospital workers alike.

The government had signed a public-private partnership with the previous operators of the hospitals, Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH). The agreement would have seen VGH run the hospitals for 30 years, however it was transferred to Steward Health Care last month.

The PN said that through the deal, VGH had made off with €50 million in state funds, having left behind only a big hole in the ground next to the Gozo General Hospital. It added that the PN “would continue to defend the Maltese nation” through court proceedings initiated by PN leader Adrian Delia.

In comments to the Malta Independent, Health minister Chris Fearne confirmed that Steward was in the process of changing some people in its top management positions. He added that “no clinicians, or staff employed in the hospitals were being affected”.

“Making progress will require that we also make some difficult decisions and today we decided to realign and streamline our corporate staff to shift resources to where they matter most: to upgrading and improving services within our hospitals,” a Steward spokesperson was also quoted as saying.

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