Gozo hospital left ill-equipped by Steward resorts to mobile MRI machine

The Gozo General Hospital is operating a mobile Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine from its doctors’ parking lot as the Vitals/Steward hospitals deal has left it ill-equipped despite hundreds of million in public funds spent.

The temporary machine was brought in as an “interim solution” for medical services described as “pressing and crucial” by Health Minister Jo Etienne Abela. A permanent machine costing some €3 million is planned to start operating at the hospital by the end of the year.

An MRI machine at Gozo General was pledged by former health minister Chris Fearne last March as one of the first improvements to the hospital since it was taken back under government control from the failed privatisation deal.

Responding to The Shift’s questions, Health Minister Abela said, “The mobile 1.5 Tesla machine is an interim solution” that “aims to deliver this pressing and crucial health service.”

He said the “massive logistical enterprise” to deliver a permanent 3 Tesla machine is underway, planned to be “fully functional towards the last quarter of 2024”.

Questions on the temporary mobile machine’s cost have not been answered.

The mobile trailer housing the machine bears the brand Benelux Imaging. This equipment supplier claims to “partner to buy and sell pre-owned imaging equipment and facilitate interim imaging rental solutions”.

A parliamentary question earlier this year revealed that almost 16,000 people were waiting for an MRI, double the amount six months earlier. Minister Abela has claimed new scanners at St Vincent De Paul residence and Gozo General Hospital will reduce the waiting list.

The machines’ purchase comes after hundreds of millions in public funds were given to VGH/Steward as part of a deal meant to overhaul and modernise Gozo, St Luke’s and Karin Grech hospitals.

The concession, taken on by Vitals Global Healthcare and later Steward Health Care, was declared “fraudulent” by the courts last February.

The court of appeals called it an “instrument through which money could flow from the country’s pockets towards those of VGH and Steward” as shown by press investigations over the years.

Both VGH and Steward, which took over the concession in 2018, failed to deliver on most of their promises, leaving Gozo General Hospital unimproved.

A new Gozo hospital was never built despite a ‘medical complex’ on the island being one of the first initiatives proposed by VGH’s 2014 memorandum of understanding with the government.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and newly appointed Health Minister Jo Etienne Abela have pledged a new Gozo hospital.

                           

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Makjavel
Makjavel
1 month ago

A portable power station and a portable MRI and portable school rooms and a portable €400 million package. Any portable president in sight?

carmelo borg
1 month ago

HEKK İMİSSHOM QALLHOM İL PRİM KOROTT NHAR İS SİBT FİL PJAZZA TRİTONİ.
ZAMMİT LEWİS SEWWA KONT SEMMEJT İL FRAZİ Lİ İN NİES TAGHNA KOLLA GAHAN.
CAPCPU GAHAN
MEQ MEQ

Concerned citizen
Concerned citizen
1 month ago

You know Steward is in serious financial trouble in the USA, right?

12X
12X
1 month ago

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