New Gozo hospital will be 'downsized' to reflect Gozitan needs, Anton Refalo tells parliament

Minister Anton Refalo says services given under Steward Health Care ‘much better’ than those given under Nationalist administrations

Gozo General Hospital (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Gozo General Hospital (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Animal Rights Minister Anton Refalo told parliament the new Gozo hospital promised by government will be “downsized”.

Replying to a supplementary question by Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami, Refalo, who is elected from the Gozo district, said the downsizing will reflect its focus on the need of the people of Gozo and plans were being tailored accordingly.

Refalo said the hospital only caters for Gozitans, and so the government does not need to waste “important resources”.

He also claimed the services given under Steward’s management were “much better” than those given under the Nationalist administrations.

Minister Anton Refalo
Minister Anton Refalo

Earlier this week, Health Minister Chris Feare said government is rationalising plans for the Gozitan hospital.

While the plans were being redrawn from under Steward’s management, the government was continuing to improve services in Gozo. Only recently, tenders for an MRI machine in Gozo were adjudicated and the bid by Philips was selected, Fearne said.

Last October, the Court of Appeal dismissed Steward Healthcare’s appeal against the decision to annul the hospitals privatisation deal.

The deal was originally struck in 2015, when the government granted a concession for the running of three hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH).  The hospitals’ concession had been negotiated by Konrad Mizzi, who was health minister at the time.

Under that agreement, Vitals was handed St Luke’s Hospital, Karin Grech Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital. The deal with VGH, a relatively known consortium at the time, had caused many a raised eyebrow.

Less than two years after being granted the concession, Vitals sold it to Steward Healthcare together with €55 million in debts accrued by VGH, for the nominal price of €1.

READ ALSO | Budget 2024: No mention of new Gozo hospital