Robert Abela on Sunday pledged that the government would go ahead with plans to build a new hospital in Gozo during the current legislature.
Speaking at a political activity in Gozo, Abela assured that patients and workers will not suffer due to a court’s revocation of the Vitals/Steward contracts on fraud grounds.
Abela said that if an appeal against the decision is filed by Steward, the government will ask the courts to expedite the hearing.
Last month, judge Francesco Depasquale tore up Steward’s contract with the government to run the St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo hospitals.
The court said Steward acted in a manner to “unjustly enrich itself at the expense of citizens” and engaged in “possibly criminal behaviour”.
Abela acknowledged that over the past years, there were “instances” when the Labour government could have done better.
He said the government will continue to listen to critics and all those who believe it can do better.
Abela said it was his belief in the need for change and reforms that led him to contest the Labour leadership and take the party to an election victory last year.
He said his government had weathered massive challenges, ranging from a pandemic to war on Europe’s periphery.
The prime minister accused the Opposition of using these challenges to undermine the country for its own partisan gains.
Last week, thousands gathered outside parliament in an Opposition protest against the hospitals deal.
Abela said that following the revocation of the contract, it was now his government’s responsibility to chart the way forward.
He pledged that the government would build a new hospital in Gozo, and hailed the investments in the Gozo medical school.
The medical school was one of the few promised investments that Vitals and Steward managed to deliver over the past years The investment in a new Gozo hospital never materialised.
Abela said his government will continue to raise standards, and is only one year into implementing its 1,000-point plan from its election manifesto.