€13 million in new direct orders for beds for the elderly in six months

The Active Ageing Ministry has handed out another €13 million in direct orders over the first six months of this year to buy more beds for the elderly from the private sector.

Among the latest list of direct orders is a €775,000 contract for CareMalta Ltd, a Vassallo Group company, for the “provision of support services to Bormla Home for older persons” for the three-month period between April and June.

The ministry and CareMalta were at loggerheads at the end of last May, right in the middle of the direct order’s duration, over the home’s state of repair and maintenance, as well as faulty concrete found to have been used in its construction.

The home’s disgruntled residents were transferred to other homes and the building is to now be partially demolished and rebuilt.

According to the latest list of direct orders, the ministry continued to circumvent the competitive public procurement process to purchase new beds for the elderly in private homes.

Instead of issuing a tender with standardised national requirements, the ministry, through a department headed by Renzo De Gabriele, continued to deal with the private owners of homes on a one-to-one basis to purchase bed spaces for those on the government’s waiting list.

All the homes, private and government, are known to be full or very nearly full to capacity.

Although this type of procurement has already been heavily criticised by the National Audit Office, the ministry persists in the practice and, claiming commercial sensitivity, steadfastly refuses to publish the contracts.

According to the latest direct orders, the Imperial Residential Home in Sliema received the fattest direct order, of over €5 million, for an additional 40 beds over the next three and a half years.

49 additional beds were ‘leased’ from Dar l-Annunzjata in Tarxien for €3.5 million until February 2026 while the Archbishop’s Curia was awarded €1.5 million in direct orders to provide beds at Dar Saura and Casa Leone.

Another 34 beds were leased from Casa Pinto in Qormi for almost €800,000 for 18 months while CareMalta was awarded a new contract worth almost €400,000 for an additional 10 beds across various homes.

While the elderly in state care continue to pay the same proportion of their pensions for their care, the government negotiates different rates with different providers in an ad hoc and opaque process that is kept under wraps.

Sources in the highly-profitable elderly residential care industry, which is practically dominated by the government as the private sector’s biggest client, have observed with The Shift how the current system is wide open for abuse and graft – with no rules being in place and everything depending on the government officials who negotiate the individual contracts.

Neither is there any national policy on how many beds the government needs yearly, in which areas they are needed or how much they should cost. Instead, the area of operations is being administered in a piecemeal fashion and with day-to-day management by crisis.

According to the latest budget estimates, the government will be spending almost €50 million on beds in private homes for the elderly, most of which are owned by property development contractors.

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1 month ago

This is becoming a racket with unscrupulous persons are converting blocks of flats and similar buildings into private homes , who are then contracted out by the government.
This hs already reached the absurd criminal state where persons that need continuous attention are being placed in these homes , that were not yet finished , no doors at the floor levels , no lights in the stairs , foreign carers that have no idea of what they should do , and do not speak understandable English.. Have there been serious injuries in these homes that have not been reported to the police , because of the backlash on the patient by the owners of these homes? A visit by the police to these ” NEW HOMES” will establish facts. Will the minister move his ass , or has his hands tied?

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

The usual mantra, bad and highly irregular financial management from the government.
To add insult to injury frivolous expenditure on government sponsored “cultural” activities.
Incompetent management and quality on government road projects and anything that the PL government and it’s entities are responsible for.

Carmelo borg
1 month ago

Din ta imperial residence ZGUR li krihom biex ippoggi l anzjan tal HBIEB TAL BHIEB.

1 month ago
Reply to  Carmelo borg

What do you think ? Gov has to have his own and not fork out millions to occupy the private homes instead. Maybe he is trying to please the owners .

1 month ago

Imperial bed is being charged to govt at Eur 2976 per bed per month.

1 month ago

Each and every Minister has an urge to leave his legacy. Jo-Etienne Abela weighs in, fulfilling Rosianne’s comment “mhux kulhadd jithanzer?”.
One wonders why a surgeon, doctor, lawyer, notary, architect or any other professional would bother entering politics. When they do it is because of economic opportunity not national interest.
Someone once said “Whoever runs for politics is innately corrupt”.

Sarah Cachia
Sarah Cachia
1 month ago

Having gone through all this in the past year with my elderly parents this article only emphasises what I have discovered. Getting old is a business where the greedy private home sector have the upper hand charging exorbitant fees!!
The other option is to choose the carer at home scheme with the elderly staying at home with the assistance of a live in carer. Again abuse as agencies profit from the vulnerability of the elderly in need of assisted care.
The government only offers €7000 a year subsidy on this scheme. With the cost of live in carers accelerating from €800 to €1,700 a month in the span of one year, the government subsidy clearly doesn’t reflect this rise or should I say abuse in the system and ultimately an injustice to our elderly who have paid NI throughout their lives!!
Further funds should be pumped into the carer at home scheme. An option we chose. Thankfully my parents have adequate pensions and life savings to allow them to do this. First hand I can say it is a viable option and my parents have benefited physically and mentally greatly. I cannot praise our live in carer enough. She is a Godsend and would recommend this option to all who have the resources to do it! Perhaps a realistic increase in the funds provided from this scheme will enable other pensioners to do this!!

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