Unions turn to court to press government to publish agreement with Vitals

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A judicial protest calling on the government to publish its public private partnership and hospital operations agreement with Vitals Global Healthcare has been filed by the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin and the Medical Association of Malta.

Vitals Global Healthcare, the company chosen as the preferred bidder in June 2015 for the private public partnership, will be injecting €220 million in a total revamp of three hospitals.

In their protest, signed by lawyer Ian Spiteri Bailey, they also called on the government to send all contracts to the Auditor General for the due diligence process.

This would ensure that the process was carried out with integrity in the interest of the people and that Vitals had the necessary permits and licences according to law.

It would also ensure they were not issued just for the sake of convenience, but after it was ascertained that they were in the best interest of the Maltese and Gozitan people’s health.

Until this was done, Vitals should not operate or administer any hospital in Malta and Gozo, they said.

UĦM and MAM argued that they were currently negotiating with the government an agreement on the operations of Karin Grech, St Luke’s and Gozo hospitals and had been asking to see the agreement reached with Vitals for a long time.

This, they said, would place them in a better position to reach an agreement with the government as they needed to know the conditions agreed upon between the government and Vitals.

They noted that Vitals had issued a call for applications for professionals in the past days. This meant that the PPP process was to continue even if the talks were intended for an agreement to be reached before this materialised.

Such behaviour went against good sense and industrial practice.

It was immature and unacceptable for the unions to see the government authorising and allowing Vitals continue with its process to operate the hospitals especially since it did not seem that it had the necessary permits and licences.

Such licences were nowhere to be found in the public domain and the courts should ensure that all necessary permission was obtained.

The UĦM and the MAM also held the authorities responsible for damages.

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