Steward Healthcare denies Gozo hospital put on hold

The private concessionaire denies allegations that the new hospital project in Gozo has been put on hold, insisting it had prioritised the construction of the Barts Medical School

Steward Healthcare is obliged to build a new hospital in Gozo as part of the concession agreement
Steward Healthcare is obliged to build a new hospital in Gozo as part of the concession agreement

Steward Healthcare Malta has denied allegations that the new hospital project in Gozo has been put on hold.

The company took over the concession to revamp and run three State hospitals - Gozo General Hospital, St Luke's and Karin Grech. The Gozo hospital is to be replaced with new state-of-the-art facility.

In Parliament this week, PN MP Chris Said questioned whether the Gozo hospital project had been shelved, with media reports this morning suggesting that works had stalled.

But in a statement released by the private concessionaire, Steward Healthcare denied the Gozo hospital project was on hold. It explained that when it took over the healthcare concession in March 2018, it set out with clear objectives to prioritise the construction of the Barts Medical school in Gozo.

The anatomy centre has been delivered to Barts and the medical school is at an advanced stage of construction, Steward said.

The company explained that works have begun on a master plan for both the new hospital in Gozo, and the redevelopment at Karin Grech and St Luke’s Hospital. 

“Steward’s aim is to build facilities which not only meet the needs of the current population but will serve as state of the art hospitals for years to come. Like all projects of this magnitude, the planning phase is arguably the most critical, which is why Steward and the government have agreed to reset the timelines in a way which allowed for the proper development of the plans. Steward Malta is committed to deliver on all obligations as set out in the concession agreement and will make the appropriate announcements in due course,” the hospital said.

In 2015, the government had awarded a 30-year concession, extendable to 99 years, to Vitals Global Healthcare, for the running and redevelopment of the Gozo General Hospital, St Luke's Hospital and Karin Grech.

Vitals failed to live up to its commitment and sold the concession to American outfit Steward Healthcare.

READ ALSO: Steward Health Care announces VGH takeover

A draft development master plan was submitted to the Planning Authority in 2016 but previously announced deadlines have been missed as a result of the problems Vitals faced.

Part of the concession agreement included the construction of a medical school in Gozo to be used by Barts.

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