4 July 2001
Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami yesterday gave wind of the radical reforms that are expected to revolutionise the National Health Service during a speech he gave at the construction site of the new hospital at Tal-Qroqq.
The hospital is to open its doors to patients in 2003 after a long arduous road of negotiations, corruption allegations, changed plans and false hopes.
The press conference was also attended by Health Minister Louis Deguara.
Dr Fenech Adami said that the reforms ensure greater autonomy to the individual hospitals, which will be run by the Foundation for Medical Services. Currently, the hospitals are operated by the Health Division.
The new institutional set up will see the Health Division adopting a more regulatory role to ensure that high standards are maintained in both public and private hospitals. Dr Fenech Adami said that the different levels of responsibility were part of governments policy of subsidiarity.
The prime minister added that the role of the health minister would be to implement the national health policy and draft the contracts of service for the Foundation.
Dr Fenech Adami dwelt on the success obtained at Zammit Clapp hospital over the last ten years, which was run on an autonomous basis. He explained that each hospital will have its own board of executive directors that will take their brief from the Foundation.
"We are convinced that this course of action will improve the already high standards of the Maltese health service. After all we are aiming towards more efficiency and greater satisfaction for the expectations of hospital clients," Dr Fenech Adami reiterated.
The prime minister added that in the near future government will start intensive talks with the respective unions on the conditions of employment for the 4,000 workers in the health service.
Government will also consider a proposal to remove the health service
workers from the civil service employment structures. Dr Fenech Adami
concluded by auguring that all players involved in the reforms, especially
unions, do their utmost to ensure the success of the changes.