Former opposition leader Adrian Delia has slammed Prime Minister Robert Abela for saying that there are already discussions to seek a new service provider for public hospitals after “five years of fighting to bring back the hospitals”.

“A more irresponsible statement cannot exist,” Delia said at a PN press conference on Tuesday.

Speaking in the wake of a court decision which annulled the government's deal with Vitals Global Healthcare and subsequently Steward Healthcare to manage three state-owned hospitals, Delia slammed the country’s leader for his several changes of heart following the decision.

At first, the PM said he would examine the sentence in detail, but it was still too early for him to speak as he would wait for the appeal, Delia said.

“And then, he changed his mind. He said that he wanted to reduce the applicable time to appeal – a gimmick to try and show that he is doing something after not only five years of nothing, but years of also protecting the corrupt deal.”

Delia went on to accuse Abela of “making a fool of the population” following the PM’s pledge to demand full reimbursement of all the funds given by the government for investment in Malta's hospitals.

Delia said that Steward's investments into the hospitals should have been made using the original funds handed to Vitals whereas any extra funds would be given to Steward after they began running the hospitals.

“It was clear that a new hospital was not built in Gozo. It was clear that St Luke’s was and still is abandoned and in disrepair. It was clear that no work was done at Karin Grech.

“Despite all this… he continued to fight in court and parliament for three full years while increasing their funds for what he knew they were not delivering upon.

“We now have a situation where the prime minister revealed in his own words that he knew everything,” Delia said.

PN leader Bernard Grech echoed his predecessor as he denounced Abela and his friends for having “a single plan” that does not represent the country's values.

"A prime minister who is not truly on the side of the people. A prime minister who was, and still is, on the side of those who are corrupt and fraudulent," Grech said.

“Therefore, it is clear that the true traitors of the people are Robert Abela and his friends,” Grech said.

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