Foundation for Medical Services ‘responsible for Mater Dei’s construction’

Former Nationalist health minister was ‘absolutely unaware’ of any faults with the hospital’s concrete structure

Former health minister Louis Deguara
Former health minister Louis Deguara
FMS were responsible for hospital's construction - Louis Deguara

The Foundation for Medical Services were responsible for the construction of Mater Dei Hospital while the Ministry for Finance were responsible for the financing of its construction, former Nationalist health minister Louis Deguara said.

In an interview with Reporter on TVM, Deguara also denies having ever received any information or knowledge that the concrete structure of the hospital’s accident and emergency area was weak or that some parts of it could be faulty.

“I never received such information during my tenure as minister. I was extremely surprised by the reports in the media,” Deguara said.

He however pointed out that the Ministry for Health was responsible for “the direction of the health system” while the Foundation for the Medical Services was responsible for the construction of the hospital.

“The health ministry focuses on the health system and it shouldn’t be burdened with financial responsibilities, especially in matters such as construction,” he said.

Deguara explained that while the Foundation for Medical Services oversaw the construction of the hospital, the Ministry for Finance was responsible for construction costs.

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Deguara was appointed parliamentary secretary in the Health Ministry in 1995 and was promoted to Health Minister in the 1998 election and reappointed to the same office in April 2003 until 2008.

Police investigations and a separate independent inquiry into the weak concrete structure at the hospital’s A&E are still ongoing. A third set of tests carried out in the UK have confirmed that concrete used on certain pillars at the A&E was not strong enough, due to the use of material of inferior quality.

Temporary mitigation measures have been installed and a site survey has been ordered.

Reporter, aired lived on TVM on Monday at 9.55pm, this evening discusses health: medicines, waiting lists, the A&E department, workforce and shortage of beds.

The new series is presented by Saviour Balzan.