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Delay forces Barts medical school to operate from Gozo sixth form

Taxpayers to foot the bill – not Vitals Global Healthcare

Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

A delay in the building of a new medical school campus in Gozo has forced Barts and the London School of Medicine and Surgery to start tuition from temporary premises at the sixth form in Victoria.

Barts had planned to start offering courses to international students last September but this was postponed by a year due to the lack of premises.

However, in view of the fact that the building of the new campus by Vitals Healthcare has not yet started, the institution decided not to postpone further and to use the refurbished second floor of the Gozo sixth form until the new campus is completed.

READ: Barts medical school delayed by a year

Questions sent to the Health Ministry on the temporary premises for Barts remained unanswered but a spokesman for the British medical school confirmed the decision: “As from September, we will be using refurbished space within Sir M.A. Refalo Sixth Form College in the heart of Victoria, Gozo, and are delighted to enjoy such a productive relationship with the school.”

We are delighted to enjoy such a productive relationship with the school

Asked who will be footing the bill for the refurbishment works involved, the spokesman said the arrangements were being made by Malta Enterprise.

This newspaper is informed that although the works fall under the responsibility of Vitals Global Healthcare – the concessionaire given a 30-year contract by the government to build a new hospital including the Barts medical school – public funds will be used for the refurbishment works needed at the sixth form.

Teachers and students at the sixth form were not so delighted with the arrangement, the Times of Malta was told. They are complaining of lack of space, particularly in the use of laboratories and the library, which will also be used by the fee-paying Barts students.

Although the work has already started, a few weeks ago, Malta Enterprise issued a new tender for urgent refurbishment works, which is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of euros. The works were ordered by Barts, which is insisting on very high finishing standards. The fast track tender specifies that works have to be concluded in 20 weeks.

So far, the government has refused to publish the agreement with Barts with Health Minister Chris Fearne is insisting its contents are confidential.

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