One of Malta’s top cardiologists, Albert Fenech, has passed away on Tuesday at the age of 70. He is believed to have died of natural causes.
Fenech was widely regarded as one of Malta’s top doctors, with Health Minister Chris Fearne describing him as “a colleague and a gentleman”.
He co-founded the cardiology department in 1995 with Alex Manche. He was a cardiologist at Mater Dei Hospital until 2015 when he was removed by the Labour government. He had expressed he was “hurt” at his dismissal.
At the time, Fenech had entered politics for a brief stint, between 2013 and 2015 when he resigned to join Vitals Global Healthcare.
His last interview was with The Shift a week ago, in which he expressed particular anger towards disgraced former energy minister Konrad Mizzi, who he described as “a rat”.
Fenech’s voice throughout the interview never wavered, not even when describing how VGH’s “white elephant” had meant his dream to build a state-of-the-art cardiac unit in Gozo would never be realised.
Fenech stopped working for VGH in December 2018, the same year in which the concession was handed over to Steward Health Care following increasing reports of VGH’s financial inadequacy for the project and the need for a bail out.
“I was employed to set up the cardiac unit in Gozo, something I’ve always wanted to do. I had everything organised – a CAT lab and a team, we’d even employed a consultant cardiologist for Gozo,” Fenech told The Shift when contacted last week following the latest NAO report on the hospitals’ deal.
“That was it once Steward Health Care took over and they dumped all the plans they had for Gozo. When we had cash flow problems for the laboratory, which was my remit, they dumped it, so all that preparation was for nothing,” he added.
Fenech’s move to the concessionaire was turned into a political maelstrom: disgraced former health minister Konrad Mizzi had pounced on the news, claiming that an ex-PN MP had resigned from parliament to endorse foreign direct investment brought in by the government. Fenech had outlined that the government had nothing to do with his decision to join VGH.
Last week he stressed that he had “absolutely” changed his mind about the deal he had previously defended. When asked about what he feels needs to happen since it has been exposed as corrupt, Fenech did not comment directly on what the government should do but instead spoke of his assessment of the Nationalist Party on whose ticket he’d been elected as MP.
“We need a decent opposition. The damned tragedy is that with all the filth that we have been allowing to happen and that we know about given it’s all recorded and documented, very little has been done about it,” Fenech said. “People will again still be voting into power the same kind of morally deplete individual.”
The PN offered Fenech’s family its condolences, saying “his death is a loss for all Malta”.