The government should have the courage to immediately terminate the deal with Steward Healthcare for the running of three hospitals, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said today.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that he has appointed experts to look into the contract, Delia said when speaking on the Nationalist Party media. But there is nothing to look at – the people are being robbed of their money, and the deal should be stopped now.
The Opposition was prepared to sit side by side with the government to get back all the money that the country has paid in this deal with no return, Delia said. But the deal needs to be stopped now.
Millions of euros were supposed to have been invested by Steward in the three hospitals – Gozo, Karin Grech and St Luke’s – but not even one cent had been spent, Delia said. Only this week, journalists employed by the PN had taken footage of the state of neglect at St Luke’s Hospital. And yet the government continues to give millions to Steward as part of the deal.
Delia challenged the present Health Minister Chris Fearne to also take a stand on the matter. Delia acknowledged that Fearne was not the minister responsible when the deal was signed – Konrad Mizzi was Health Minister at the time, and reached the deal with the blessing of then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – but now he (Fearne) must put his foot down and see that the contract is terminated.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna must also take his share of responsibility, as after all he is responsible for the country’s finances. He should stop taking the country for a ride and try to shift the blame on others, Delia said. Scicluna is allowing taxpayers’ money to be given to Steward who, in turn, has not delivered on its promises.
The more than €200 million that have been handed out in this deal could have been spent on, for example, the building of a new hospital for mental health care, Delia said.
The Opposition Leader also criticised the way the government is tackling the crisis in the police corps after more than 40 officers were involved in an overtime scandal. He said that the government’s inability to stabilise the force – having six commissioners in six years was the perfect example of instability – opened the way for abuse.
Delia also referred to the ongoing reform in the Nationalist Party, saying that the party will soon be in a position to finalise its plans.