Privatisation of hospitals may deny citizens right to file complaint to Ombudsman
Citizens could lose their right to complain to the Ombudsman due to the privatisation of the St Luke’s, Gozo and Karin Grech hospitals by Vitals Global Healthcare, a parliamentary committee heard yesterday. The Ombudsman, Anthony Mifsud, told the House Business Committee that privatisation could improve the quality of service unless “that private service provider that is primarily motivated by profit and not necessarily by the common good.”
Mr Mifsud also said that he has spoken with Minister for Health Chris Fearne to see whether legislation could be amended to protect a citizen’s right to complain to the Ombudsman.
The shadow minister for health, Claudette Buttigieg, raised concerns about the Ombudsman’s remarks, but Economic Affairs Minister Chris Cardona assured the MPs that the government and the European Union would protect people’s rights in the privatisation of both the health and energy sectors.
Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli also said that the competent authorities would serve as regulators and safeguard people’s rights in accordance to Maltese law.
Mr Mifsud also called for the appointment of a Deputy Ombudsman in order to strengthen his office since it is the main link between the governmental bodies and society which ensures people’s rights are being protected.