New Gozo Hospital ‘on its way’, Muscat insists as he launches Barts Anatomy Centre

The centre was described by stakeholders as a milestone and a state of the art educational facility

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the new Gozo hospital was well on its way as he inaugurated the new Barts Anatomy Centre
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the new Gozo hospital was well on its way as he inaugurated the new Barts Anatomy Centre

The new state of the art hospital promised in Gozo is “on its way”, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Wednesday, giving no indication as to when it was scheduled for completion.

The hospital was originally scheduled to be completed by May 2018, however the project’s timeline was changed once the concession for the running of the hospital was transferred to Steward Health Care.

Muscat was speaking at the inauguration of the Barts Anatomy Centre, which was officially opened today and which was described by Steward Health Care President Armin Ernst as “one of the best teaching facilities” he had visited in the last 20 years. 

The centre will be an extension of the Barts Medical School which is currently also under construction. The brand new building, which is already housing students, stands in the shadow of the as yet incomplete Gozo General Hospital.

"A few months ago there was a hole in the ground. Now there's a medical school and an anatomy centre," Ernst said.

The medical school will include a wet lab, section area and an embalming area, as well as a laboratory that will offer hands-on clinical experience on dissections.

Steve Thornton, Vice Principal of Barts Medical School said the the inauguration was an important milestone for healthcare and education in Gozo.

"The partnership between Barts London School and Steward Healthcare resulted in a vision characterised by commitment,” Thornton said. “We are giving a strong start to students' medical careers with such a fantastic school."

Malta’s life expectancy, he said, was exceptional when compared to that of London, which he said had the lowest life expectancy in Europe. "But Malta and Gozo, they have the highest life expectancy in Europe, where 95% of an average citizen's life is spent in good health."

This reflected the government’s commitment to the sector, he added.

Muscat said that he was thrilled to see the idea of Gozo as a centre for medical excellence finally take shape.

"This is a cutting edge facility and a milestone. Our healthcare partners are showing us that they mean business," he said, noting that the its inauguration was taking place 342 years to the day, when Nicholas Cottoner opened the anatomy centre in the Sacra Infermeria - now the Mediterranean Conference Centre - in Valletta. 

"The anatomy centre is the beginning of a long-term relationship that started just three years ago," the Prime Minister said.

Muscat said he was pleased by the fact that the students who would make use of the new buildings were students hailed from different parts of the world, including Switzerland, India, Canada, Uganda, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and others.

"We want these students to say that they are proud to call our islands their home," Muscat said.