Joseph Muscat tells Steward Healthcare: ‘Time is of the essence’

The Prime Minister met with the chairman and CEO of Steward Health Care on Monday

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said times was of the essence in completing the Barts campus in Gozo
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said times was of the essence in completing the Barts campus in Gozo

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has told Steward Health Care that work on Gozo General Hospital and the Barts medical school was a priority for the government.

Muscat was speaking during a meeting with Steward chairman and CEO Ralph De La Torre and President of Steward Health Care International Armin Ernst, where he insisted that time was of the essence, adding that the government would also be looking to increase the pace at which the project is moving.

Steward Health Care took over the running of three of Malta’s public hospitals last month, after the concession for their maintenance and operation was transferred from Vitals Global Healthcare, the consortium whose bid was originally selected by the government.

The Prime Minister said Steward Health Care had proved to be the right choice given its experience in the sector and the outcomes so far.

He added that he wanted the project to be looked at in a holistic way, and not as just another “simply private-public partnership agreement”.

Muscat reiterated that he was proud of the universal free healthcare available in Malta, and promised that it would remain so. He further pledged to continue to improve the "already excellent" human resources in healthcare.

"I am confident that your involvement in project and country will yield exceptional results," he told De La Torre.

De La Torre said that the workforce in Malta was second to none, and that the company was confident in the "rule of government" in Malta. It pledged to function in a transparent manner.

The press was invited to cover the first five minutes of the meeting, which then continued behind closed doors.

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