Update 3: Temporary ward reopening at St Luke's Hospital
A temporary ward with 17 beds is being reopened at St Luke’s Hospital today to help cope with hospital bed shortage.
The Health Ministry said this evening the beds will be used by patients requiring long term care.
It said the ward being used was in the same area where there was the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy sections in what was previously the Day Care Unit.The patients were being transferred to the new ward from Karen Grech Hospital and will remain under the care of their current specialists.
They will be selected according to established clinical criteria.
Beds were seen taken out of St Philip's Hospital in Sta Venera this morning. It is understood they were being moved to the new ward at St Luke's
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did not deny when asked this morning to confirm whether beds from St Philip’s Hospital, which closed down two years ago due to financial difficulties, were being moved to St Luke’s Hospital to create acute wards there.
“We are analysing and reviewing a number of agreements and looking at different options. This is being done in the context of a holistic plan the government intends to announce through a press conference in the coming days,” he said.
PN health spokesman Claudio Grech said when asked about the matter that If such a decision was taken he would expect the government to announce it because it was a significant development.
"In a spirit of consensus I would have expected some form of consultation with the Opposition, given that certain wards at a hospital that has been closed will be reopened. I don't know whether there was consultation with the unions. I am not saying we should shoot down the plan but this is not the way decisions are taken," he said.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia would not rule out using “space” at the former acute general hospital in Pietà when quizzed about the matter.
A recent report co-authored by the World Health Organisation said that Mater Dei Hospital needs 500 more beds to handle acute cases.
The planning authority yesterday approved the building of two new wards on top of the Emergency Department.