Vi­tals Global Health­care con­tracts tabled in Par­lia­ment

● Many pages miss­ing; sev­eral time­frames and amounts not present

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

Health Min­is­ter Chris Fearne tabled the Vi­tals Global Health­care con­tracts in Par­lia­ment last night, how­ever many pages were miss­ing, with the Op­po­si­tion claim­ing that there were some 60 pages or so ab­sent from the pub­lished doc­u­ments.

While there is a con­fi­den­tial­ity clause in the Ser­vices Con­ces­sion agree­ment, which also men­tions com­mer­cially sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion, it shall not ap­ply to any dis­clo­sure of in­for­ma­tion to any other rel­e­vant pub­lic bod­ies, in­clud­ing Par­lia­ment, “should the gov­ern­ment con­sider it nec­es­sary to ful­fil any le­gal or po­lit­i­cal obli­ga­tions which it may have”.

In ad­di­tion, a sep­a­rate clause within the same doc­u­ment reads that the gov­ern­ment “re­tains ab­so­lute dis­cre­tion whether it dis­closes any in­for­ma­tion to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the Au­di­tor Gen­eral, the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral, the Par­lia­men­tary Om­buds­man and any other pub­lic body, with­out any need of con­sult­ing or ob­tain­ing the con­sent of the con­ces­sion­aire for this dis­clo­sure.”

While three con­tracts cov­er­ing the agree­ment in re­la­tion to the op­er­a­tion of Karin Grech Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Hospi­tal, St Luke's Hospi­tal and the Gozo Gen­eral Hospi­tal were pub­lished, many pages, as well as quite a bit of in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to time­frames and pay­ments were left out.

The three con­tracts pub­lished are a ser­vices con­ces­sions agree­ment, a Labour sup­ply agree­ment and a health ser­vices de­liv­ery agree­ment.

As an ex­am­ple, within the ser­vices con­ces­sion agree­ment, gov­ern­ment blanked out the amount the Con­ces­sion­aire must pay for “mov­ables”.

“In con­sid­er­a­tion of the pay­ment hereon the sum of (blank) by the Con­ces­sion­aire to the Gov­ern­ment of Malta (GOM), in re­spect of which sum GOM is hereby ten­der­ing due re­ceipt to the Con­ces­sion­aire, GOM hereby sells, trans­fers and de­liv­ers to the con­ces­sion­aire as of the ef­fec­tive date (the date when a num­ber of con­di­tions by both sides are sat­is­fied)... all the move­able ob­jects per­tain­ing to GOM which are present on the sites as at the com­mence­ment date”.

It also blanked the sum gov­ern­ment would need to pay to buy back these mov­ables upon the lapse of the con­ces­sion pe­riod, or should there be early ter­mi­na­tion.

The doc­u­ment men­tions some form of han­dover plan, for the smooth tran­si­tion of the ac­tiv­i­ties and op­er­a­tions con­ducted by the gov­ern­ment at the Gozo Gen­eral Hospi­tal and Karen Grech Hospi­tal.

The max­i­mum pe­riod al­lot­ted for the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the han­dover plan has been blanked out, how­ever it does say that the agree­ment on the plan must con­clude by the ef­fec­tive date.

As per the agree­ment, the con­ces­sion­aire is obliged to not do, or omit from do­ing any­thing that can de­crease the value of the con­ces­sion, or which may place the un­der­tak­ing in a state of dis­re­pute or in any other way dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of the health­care in­dus­try in Malta, the sites, or the Gov­ern­ment of Malta.

It is also bound to utilise an an­nual sum of the prof­its for en­vi­ron­men­tal en­hance­ment and em­bel­lish­ment or so­cial projects. What is be­lieved to be a per­cent­age of the prof­its, how­ever, is blanked out.

The pages blanked out in this doc­u­ment in­clude Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don Malta’s un­der­tak­ings, their list and spec­i­fi­ca­tion of equip­ment to be pro­cured and in­stalled, ter­mi­na­tion pay­ments and the par­ent com­pany guar­an­tee.

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