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Vincent Moran, health minister for turbulent 11 years, dies at 86

He was the last survivor of the 1976 Cabinet

Vincent Moran, the former long serving health minister, has passed away aged 86.

Dr Moran joined the Labour Party as a young man in 1948 and rose through the ranks to become what Toni Abela, a former deputy leader of the party, described as ‘a giant of Maltese politics’.

Hugely popular in the district which included his hometown Paola, Dr Moran was elected uninterruptedly in seven general elections between 1962 and 1992.

He was appointed minister of health by Dom Mintoff in 1976 and his death marks the departure of the last member of the cabinet as appointed after the general election of that year. (Dr Joseph Brincat was appointed justice minister in 1979).

Dr Moran ran into controversy within months of being appointed when he imposed a statutory two-year requirement for newly graduated doctors to serve in the government health service before being granted their warrant.

The dispute, with the Medical Association, escalated to such an extent that doctors were called on strike and the government then locked them out of state hospitals.

They were replaced mostly by East European doctors. The dispute was to become the longest in the history of industrial relations, lasting until 1987 when the PN was returned to government.

Dr Moran set up the national health service in its current form, extended St Luke’s Hospital and was responsible for the building of Karin Grech Hospital along side it.

But it was also under Dr Moran’s watch that private hospitals were forced to close after the government insisted on taking some of their beds. In the most notorious case, the ‘Blue sisters’ which ran Zammit Clapp Hospital, were forcibly deported in 1980.

Dr Moran remained responsible for health in the government of Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici until Labour lost the 1987 election .

He stayed on as an MP until 1996 but resigned from the Labour Party parliamentary group in 1995 after allegations in May of that year that he was involved in arrangements for abortions to be carried out in Sicily.

PL, PN condolences

In a statement, the Labour Party said Malta and the PL had lost a gentlemen and politician who had worked incessantly for the good of the workers.

He was one of Labour’s politicians who lived during the hard times of the Church interdiction, it added. 

Condolences were also offered by the Nationalist Party.

It said Dr Moran would be remembered as a dedicated family doctor with a great social conscience especially when it came to the weak and vulnerable. He was a live example of dedication to the medical profession.

 

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