Mount Carmel hospital to be fully refurbished, Chris Fearne says

Health Minister tells Cabinet meeting at Mater Dei Hospital that major investments will be carried out in the health sector

Chris Fearne giving Cabinet a presentation on developments in the healthcare system
Chris Fearne giving Cabinet a presentation on developments in the healthcare system

Mount Carmel Hospital will undergo a complete refurbishment, Chris Fearne said, describing the current state of the institution as “dating back to Charles Dickens' time”.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who is also health minister, said a survey of the entire hospital had taken place, and a call would be issued for work to take place throughout the building.

Fearne was giving an overview of the health sector at a special Cabinet meeting held this morning at Mater Dei Hospital. The media was invited to listen to the introductory part.

He said the hospital couldn't be closed down, since "hundreds of patients cannot go anywhere else after having lived there for years".

Fearne announced that on 5 December a national conference will be held for which all stakeholders in the mental health sector will be invited. The conference will discuss the first draft of a 10-year mental health strategy for Malta.

Cabinet met on Tuesday morning for a special session at Mater Dei Hospital
Cabinet met on Tuesday morning for a special session at Mater Dei Hospital

Robots to assist surgeons

Fearne also said that from next year robots will be assisting surgeons at Mater Dei Hospital.

"This investment will cost millions, but it will improve the service and will put our hospital amongst only a few others in Europe were robotics are used," he said.

Fearne emphasised that with a decade having passed since Mater Dei was opened, a lot of the equipment at the hospital needed to be changed.

"This is not only because it is old, but because technology has advanced and current equipment is now outdated. We will be changing all of it,” he said.

Fearne also underscored the government's efforts to push for community-based care.

"You cannot be efficient or sustainable if you only offer treatment in hospital... so we are now pushing for community care, and working with local councils to provide this in our localities."

He added that the government would soon be issuing a call for NGOs interested in offering certain health services.

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