Malta: Gozo wants healthcare independence

After shambolic national government decisions over the last decade wrecked the healthcare and medical tourism sector, Malta’s island of Gozo wants more independence to ensure decisions linked to planning and development on the island will be taken by Gozitans.

The Nationalist Party wants Gozo to be recognised in the Constitution as a distinct region with a governing council elected by Gozitans.

With court cases ongoing, locals say they want the national government to terminate the hospitals privatisation deal with Steward Health Care and build a new state of the art hospital in Gozo.

The Gozo General Hospital was one of three state hospitals given on concession to the obscure Vitals Global Healthcare in a bid to develop medical tourism. The concession was taken over by Steward Healthcare at a low  cost, which it wants to renegotiate with government.

One of the conditions of the concession agreement was the construction of a new Gozo hospital to compliment the Bart’s medical school campus that has been built. A decade on, no such development has taken place.

Gozitans are annoyed that a succession of national governments has effectively left the health sector in foreign hands.

Steward Health Care Malta is owned by a USA based group. the US Ambassador has been involved in negotiations between the company and the national government.

PN MP Adrian Delia launched a court case arguing that the three hospitals should be given back to the people  on the basis that both Vitals and Steward failed in their contractual obligations; the case is on-going.

For medical tourism, a decade of broken promises means that there is very little inbound medical tourism in Malta.