The Malta Independent 21 May 2024, Tuesday
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Joseph Muscat says Malta's healthcare system is not sustainable

Kevin Schembri Orland Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 14:22 Last update: about 26 days ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said that the healthcare system in the country needs to change, as 'it is not sustainable'.

Muscat was responding to a question posed by The Malta Independent about the hospitals deal signed with Vitals Global Healthcare when he was Prime Minister, a company that lacked previous experience in running hospitals and missed agreed upon milestones. That deal was cancelled and annulled by a court judgement which mentioned fraud, a judgement that was later confirmed on appeal. The Court of Appeal judgement had also suggested that there had been collusion.

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Asked whether he regrets his decision to make a deal with Vitals Global Healthcare, Muscat did not say. "After, we took measures for everything to pass on to Steward Health Care. My regret is that there was a lot of pressure from different forces not to let the agreement be implemented and, in truth, at the end of the day any government realises or will realise that they will need the private sector and that the healthcare system as it is today - whether there is need for a new hospital or more private sector interventions - the system needs to change as it is not sustainable."

The VGH deal was eventually transferred to Steward Health Care, but the overall deal was still annulled by the court. Muscat, however, still believes that the health sector deal could have worked, when asked, but went on to mention that there were 'vested interests'. This is not the first time Muscat has mentioned the idea of there having been those with 'vested interests', having already publicly blamed them for obstructing the complete implementation of the deal. He still refuses to state who had these vested interests.

He said that there were vested interests that didn't allow it to work.

"I accept what the court says out of respect for the courts - I don't necessarily agree with it all."

He disagreed with the idea of calling the deal signed between Muscat's government and Steward Healthcare that would have seen the company receive €100 million if the contract was simply annulled as an 'exit clause'.

He also said that the National Audit Office's analysis of the hospitals deal "was an interesting analysis and was clear in many points of all this. If the NAO found something that I did wrong or in some way was against the law, the NAO's duty would have been to report me to the competent authorities, the NAO didn't do that."

 


 

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