Health minister Chris Fearne on Thursday cut short comments he was giving the media about revelations that the government has reopened talks with Steward Healthcare on the controversial 30-year concession of three public hospitals after he was pressed by Times of Malta for details.

Times of Malta revealed last week that the government had agreed to renegotiate aspects of the multi-million euro concession,  less than a year after the US-based company bought the concession from Vitals Healthcare Group for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Fearne confirmed that talks are being held, suggesting that some services which are to be offered by Steward were not part of the original agreement.

Asked whether parts of the current agreement would also be renegotiated, including time frames on the building of new facilities and related payments, Mr Fearne did not reply.

Instead he walked out of the room.

The original agreement was signed in 2015. The talks with Vitals had been led by  then Health Minister Konrad Mizzi when Mr Fearne was still a parliamentary secretary.

None of the concession milestones in the agreement have been met. The government will be forking out €2.1 billion for this agreement.

READ: Steward Healthcare wins new project timelines

The Health Minister on Thursday presided over the signing of a new sectoral agreement between the government and the MUMN, which represents midwives and nurses. 

He described the midwives and nurses and an important link in the health infrastructure of Malta. 

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