Steward Healthcare silent on Vitals agreement

No announcement made, questions unanswered

Steward has yet to comment on running the three State hospitals. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Steward has yet to comment on running the three State hospitals. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Steward Healthcare, which according to the government will take over its deal with Vitals Global Healthcare for running three State hospitals, has yet to comment on that deal.

The government announced on December 21 that Vitals had sold its 30-year concession to American operator Steward Healthcare, with Health Minister Chris Fearne referring to the new operator as “the real thing”.

Despite the announcement having been made over three weeks ago, Steward has yet to make an official statement, with questions from the Times of Malta sent a week ago remaining unanswered.

Read: Vitals CEO profile says he worked simultaneously for new concession owner

The Times of Malta asked Steward Healthcare whether it had met with any of the partners Vitals had agreements with and whether it would be upholding all the deals agreed upon.

This newspaper also asked for details on when Steward representatives would meet with the parties involved in the deal.

The surprise announcement that the concession had been sold just 21 months after Vitals signed the controversial agreement raised eyebrows, with doctors and the Opposition calling for it to be investigated.

The Medical Association of Malta on Wednesday urged the government to withdraw its consent for the transfer of the concession to the American operator, and its general secretary, Martin Balzan, referred to the deal as “fake”.

Read: Top officials quit Vitals Global Healthcare

Earlier this week, the Opposition called on the Auditor General to urgently investigate the privatisation of public hospitals. In reaction, the Labour Party said the government had called for such an investigation a year ago.

This newspaper has reported that a main partner of Vitals, Boston-based Partners HealthCare International, roped in to assist in running the hospitals, had yet to fully understand the details of the agreement with Steward.

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