Government ‘has no intention’ to privatise Mount Carmel Hospital

Government has no plans to privatise Mount Carmel Hospital and denied it was in talks with CareMalta over handing over the mental health facility to the company which forms part of the Vassallo Group of companies.

Informed sources told The Shift News that government was exploring the option of handing over the mental health care facility in Attard to CareMalta – which already receives millions in taxpayer money for services provided to the elderly in private residential homes.

But a health ministry spokesperson told The Shift News “Government is not in talks with CareMalta – or anyone else for that matter – on the privatisation of Mount Carmel Hospital. In fact government has no intention of privatising Mount Carmel.”

The hospital is in dire need of investment and in a damning report published in November 2017, the Commissioner for Mental Health said the dedication and respect shown by the staff cannot be expected to make up for the “lack of investment in the physical environment of care facilities”.

The report concluded that safety is still an issue in some wards at Mount Carmel Hospital (MCH) and investment in safety measures is sorely needed.

In November 2017, The Times reported that the roofs of several wards in the 150-year-old hospital were in danger of collapse which saw mental health patients temporarily moved to old people’s homes.

More recently, two patients escaped from the hospital. In one case, a suicidal patient was found dead after escaping the institution through a bathroom window.

In February, The Times reported that the hospital is set to undergo a complete revamp. Mount Carmel Hospital chief executive Stephen Sultana said a “comprehensive” master plan for the entire hospital was drafted last year and it is expected to take around five years to refurbish the entire complex ward by ward.

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