The Malta Independent 29 August 2016, Monday

Updated: Parties argue as it emerges Albert Fenech is to head revamped St Luke's hospital

Wednesday, 6 January 2016, 11:13 Last update: about 9 months ago

PN MP Albert Fenech is "directly involved" in the St Luke's private hospital project, which was heavily criticised by the Nationalist Party, the PL said today.

It was reacting to a story published on the front page of today’s in-Nazzjon, which announced Mr Fenech’s intentions after “he was stopped from operating by the government.” The report said Mr Fenech was opening the hospital but it is understood that the PN MP will actually be heading it. 

In a statement the PL said the cardiologist had given the best possible endorsement to the privatisation project, which was criticised over and over again by PN Leader Simon Busuttil and health shadow minister Claudette Buttigieg. The PN claimed that it had been kept in the dark over the project but it now transpired that one of its own MPs was directly involved, the PL said.

It said the PN media had made it clear that the hospital would be part of the St Luke’s and Gozo private hosital project and that Mr Fenech was employed by the same consortium that the PN had criticised so much. It agreed with Mr Fenech, who was quoted as saying that the project will be of the highest quality.

The PL said this was another certificate for its health policies, which have already led to a reduction of out of stock medicines, shorter waiting lists and improvements to the emergency department. 

 

Government forcing people to pay for Albert Fenech’s services – PN

In reaction, the PN said that after the government stopped Albert Fenech from working at Mater Dei, people were now forced to pay for his services whereas before they were given for free. The company behind the new hospital had recognised Mr Fenech’s value and trusted him to head its surgery department.

“It is clear that cardiologist Albert Fenech can still be of service to Maltese patients. However the government saw things differently and threw him out.”

The PN said Health Minister Konrad Mizzi had no shame when he boasted about Albert Fenech’s “endorsement” of the private hospital project after he sacked him and forced him to seek employment elsewhere.

But the way in which Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister were trying to take people for fools was now all too evident, it said, referring to Dr Muscat’s New Year’s message video.

“The truth will not be changed by the Labour Party spin," the PN said.

 

Fenech's services to remain free-of-charge

In its own reaction to the back and forth, the Health Ministry this evening said that Prof. Fenech’s services will, in fact, remain free-of-charge – as would all services under the €200 million contract.  The ministry clarified that Prof. Fenech will be employed by a private consortium which will, in turn, provide free services to the Maltese population.

The project, the ministry said, will include a rehabilitation hospital, a dermatological centre, geriatric care, a new general hospital in Gozo, a medical school in Gozo with world class facilities and medical tourism.  Is the Opposition Leader against hospital investments that will much better and still free services, the ministry asked?

 

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