The Malta Independent 21 May 2022, Saturday

UHM and MAM refuse to sign agreements with VGH until PAC investigates

Saturday, 26 November 2016, 09:24 Last update: about 6 years ago

The UHM – Voice of the Workers and the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) have written a letter to the Public Accounts Committee, asking it to look into the Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) agreements signed with the government, stating that there are too many questions surrounding the agreement that need to be answered in the best interests of the workers.

The government – VGH deal covers the operation of Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital, St Luke's Hospital (photo above) and the Gozo General Hospital.

The Public Accounts Committee is expected to discuss the issue on Monday.

The unions state that government is demanding they conclude their agreements with VGH, however in light of the lack of transparency, lack of responses to questions and so many doubts regarding regarding the government-VGH contract, they do not believe it is in the interest of the workers to do so.

They argued that the legal, practical, factual and industrial consequences for workers are not clear as a result of the government – VGH agreement.

“The unions asked many questions that remain unanswered. The unions requested information that was not given. The unions experienced lack of transparency, lack of a level playing-field and a lack of seriousness for months”.

They raised a number of questions regarding the financing for the projects and operations of the hospital.

The unions argue that government has agreed to hire all graduates from Barts Medical School for a period of two years, yet no such agreement was made with the University of Malta.

They questions how Vitals Global Healthcare would be able to operate the three hospitals with reduced staff.

The unions demand that, prior to signing their agreements with VGH, all contracts are published, the Auditor General conducts a due diligence exercise and that the PAC investigate.

“These agreement were signed by two people mentioned in the Panama Papers, who opened secret companies during negotiations and contacted no less than nine banks to open accounts”.

They also raised doubts as to whether public procurement procedures were followed and whether the hospitals were passed on for a low price. They said that the operator has been given a monopoly in Gozo which could be to the future detriment of the Gozitan population. 

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