Medical and health science students are worried that their new government-promised faculty building will never be finished because the source of funding for it remains unclear.

The building, announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne in 2019, was originally meant to be ready for use by the end of 2022, the Malta Medical Students’ Association and the Malta Health Students’ Association said in a joint statement.

“Once this new medical school is up and running, the Maltese Islands will have two of the best facilities in Europe,” Fearne said at the 2019 announcement, also referring to Gozo’s Barts Medical School.

Yet as the year comes to an end, the 8,000 square-meter facility near Mater Dei hospital is far from finished. Construction has stopped and the concrete shell has been left untouched for the past several months, the students' associations said. 

They blamed the delay on a lack of funding, saying there was “no government entity willing to commit the required financial resources.” 

COVID-19 impact

Without the building, medical and health science students will be left without a place to call their own as their current medical school located in Mater Dei Hospital is still suffering the repercussions of Malta’s COVID-19 outbreak.

When the national hospital was unable to cope with an influx of patients during the pandemic, the current medical school sacrificed many student spaces such as their library and the staff cafeteria, converting them into makeshift wards.

These areas have become a “permanent solution to the patient overload our national hospital is experiencing,” the students said, leaving them with no communal areas to study and socialise.

"Political promises should be ironclad, not swept under the rug to be forgotten about," the statement said.

The organisations are calling upon the government, the University, and Campus Hub Ltd, which owns the space the property is built on, to secure the needed funds so that over 1,000 students are given the lecture rooms, labs, and resources they “so desperately need”.

They are urging members of the public to sign a petition calling upon these institutions to follow through on their three-year commitment.

Questions have been sent to the health ministry. 

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