The Malta Independent 28 May 2023, Sunday
View E-Paper

Government takes over control of hospitals from Steward Health Care

Tuesday, 21 March 2023, 16:50 Last update: about 3 months ago

Updated with a statement in Parliament from Health Minister Chris Fearne

The government has taken over control of the operations of three hospitals that formed part of the Steward Health Care concession agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said in Parliament.

A government spokesperson further explained that the government has stepped in to control the operations of the hospitals until the concession is effectively terminated and the hospitals are handed back to government.

Last month, a court annulled the concession which Steward Health Care held to run three hospitals: the Gozo General Hospital, Karin Grech Hospital and St Luke's Hospital. The court nullified the contracts awarded in a damning ruling which read that the concessionaires acted "fraudulently." Steward Health Care appealed the sentence, but a day later said that it would be terminating the concession itself and leaving the country. 


In a statement issued this afternoon, the government said that it had notified Steward that it was not accepting what the company said in its termination notice and that it would be carrying out a "controlled step-in" and that the termination of the concession will be done as per the conditions imposed by the government.

"The step which the government has taken means that it will immediately assume control of these hospitals," the government said.

The government again assured that the service to all patients and hospital workers will continue in all three hospitals, and said that all the necessary steps are being taken to ensure that this transition is done without interruptions to the services offered by the hospitals.

The government said that these steps are being taken without prejudice to the procedures which are on-going before Malta's courts, but are being done with the intention of protecting the government's interests and the national interest.

Fearne says Barts will remain in Gozo, investment to improve hospitals will begin immediately

“From today the government has taken over operations of the hospitals,” Fearne announced in parliament on Tuesday, shortly after this news was made public.

He clarified that from Tuesday afternoon when the government carried out the “control step-in,” now the three hospitals are now in the government's hands.

Fearne said that following Steward’s appeal, everything continued running as usual, and now he assured that everything will continue running without any “hiccups.” He added that even subcontractors and contractors will be able to carry out their work just like before.

Fearne also mentioned how he recently got in contact with the dean of Barts Medical School who spoke highly about the running of the school and is expecting a successful year. “Barts is in Gozo and it will remain in Gozo,” Fearne assured.

He also pledged that the government will immediately begin working on improving the hospitals, with the first improvements taking place at Gozo General Hospital, which Fearne said will be getting an MRI scanner.

He added that the government will continue having discussions with stakeholders to work towards the modernisation of the hospitals.

He addressed Maltese citizens and Labourites and said that all the news surrounding the hospitals has “darkened [their] hearts.” However, to put everyone’s mind at ease, he said that the PL has always been a party that has believed in the good and has never believed that anyone is bigger than the party or country.

He acknowledged that this was not the first time that the PL had to face challenges and he mentioned the resignation of disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the pandemic as two challenging periods. However, he said that the PL always emerged stronger.


  • don't miss