Steward blames Government as it decides to exit country / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 16 March 2023

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Updated 1700

The Times of Malta says that the government said it is ready to immediately take over the running of hospitals administered by Steward Health Care after the company “abandoned” its operations.

Maltatoday reports that sittings in the civil case filed by rule of law NGO Repubblika, requesting judicial review of the State’s decision not to prosecute senior figures at Pilatus Bank, are once again to take place in private.

The Malta Independent says that the PN has demanded the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg after an appeals court ruled that the swimming pool in his villa was built illegally.

TVM quotes NSO data which shows that last October, workers in full-time private sector employment increased by 7.4 percent while workers in private part-time employment increased by 3.9 percent compared to October of 2021.

Updated 1230

Steward blames Government as it decides to exit country: Steward Health Care Malta submitted a termination notice to the government under the hospital services concession agreement due to “non-rectifiable defaults on the part of the government of Malta”. Steward, whose concession was terminated after the courts declared the agreement was fraudulent, turned its guns against the government, accusing it that the operating environment and investment climate in Malta is not conducive for foreign companies to operate. The healthcare company quoted the same court judgement, suggesting that the government’s failure to appeal the Civil Court verdict that labelled its own behaviour corrupt is an admission of guilt in relation to its own governance failings. (Times of Malta)

Maltese spend lowest share on housing: Maltese people spend the smallest share of income on housing within the European Union, according to new statistics published by Eurostat. In Malta, the general population is estimated to spend around 9% of their disposable income on housing costs, according to 2021 data. This is the lowest figure across the member states, with Malta followed by Cyprus and Lithuania, who respectively spend 11% and 12% of their disposable income on housing costs. (Maltatoday)

Public transport use on the increase: Four months since public transport was made free, the use of buses has continued to increase. Data published by Malta Public Transport shows that in February, around 4.5 million passengers travelled by bus, which represents an increase not only from the previous month but from the same month of last year. Registrations for Tallinja Card also saw a sharp increase during February 2023, and registered a staggering 103% increase compared to February 2019. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

PM Abela defended Steward with all his power – Bernard Grech

PN leader Bernard Grech has piled further pressure on PM Robert Abela, accusing him of doing everything within his power to ensure Steward Health Care did not lose its right to three state hospitals. “This case was filed five years ago. Abela has been prime minister for three of those five years. He did everything he could to defend Vitals and Stewart. He did everything to ensure this case was lost [by Adrian Delia],” the Nationalist Party leader said on Wednesday. Earlier on Wednesday, Steward announced that it had filed an appeal against a landmark deal that annulled its contracts to take over three state hospitals. It also said that it would take action in front of the European Courts. (Times of Malta)

Malta hosts a meeting for Small Island Developing States on the margins of Commonwealth Days 2023

​In the margins of several meetings being held in London for Commonwealth Days 2023, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ian Borg hosted a meeting for Foreign Affairs Ministers of Small Island Developing States. This meeting was also attended by the Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Belen Carbonell Martinez, and by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland. During this meeting, Minister Borg stated that the small island states are among the first to feel the repercussions of climate change, particularly in certain geographical areas due to the sea level. He went on to say how with this meeting, Malta, as a member of the Commonwealth and even of the European Union, wishes to increase collaboration between the two organisations so that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) are reached. (DOI)

Patients wait three hours for bed at A&E

The average waiting time for a patient to be allotted a bed at Mater Dei Hospital’s Emergency Department is three hours. The information was given in the House by Health Minister Chris Fearne in a reply to a parliamentary question by PN MP Rebekah Borg after many patients and relatives compared of lengthy waiting times. The question only gives the average waiting for a patient waits for them to be given a bed after a doctor decides the patient needs a bed.

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