Sqaq San Filep

 

Wara żmien twil bi ftit li xejn informazzjoni dwar l-isptar ta’ San Filep, matul din il-ġimgħa kellna indiġistjoni.  L-informazzjoni iżda ħarġet bit-tabuxù għax il-Gvern jagħtiha biċċa biċċa. Kif u meta jaqbillu. Qatt biex jinforma.

Is-serjeta’ kienet titlob mod ieħor. Imma s-serjeta’ m’hiex kwalita’ tal-Gvern immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi.

Kif anke deher waqt id-dibattitu ta’ nhar it-Tnejn li għadda fil-Parlament hemm ħafna affarijiet li m’humiex ċari u għaldaqstant huwa meħtieġ analiżi twila u dettaljata tal-konsiderazzjonijiet kollha li wasslu għall-ftehim bejn il-Gvern u l-kumpanija ta’ Frank Portelli l-Good Shepherd Group Limited, is-sid tal-isptar.

L-ewwel ħsieb imur fuq is-sit innifsu. Għaliex l-Isptar San Filep?

It-tweġiba m’hiex waħda sempliċi. Id-diskussjonijiet kienu ilhom sejrin minn ftit wara l-elezzjoni tal-2008. Ħadd ma qal xejn għal żmien twil. Dak li kien qed jiġri rriżulta minn sentenza mogħtija mit-Tribunal għat-Talbiet Żgħar nhar l-4 t’Ottubru 2012 fil-każ bejn Icon Studios Ltd u Good Shepherd Group Limited. Fil-paragrafu 7 tal-konsiderazzjonijiet tat-Tribunal jingħad li Dr Frank Portelli nhar l-1 ta’ Marzu 2010 semma n-negozjati li huwa kellu mal-Gvern u li kienu ilhom għaddejjin għal 18-il xahar. Il-każ quddiem it-Tribunal kien dwar ħlas konness mad-disinn ta’ website tal-Isptar San Filep mill-kumpanija ta’ Dr Ġeġe Gatt, iben Austin Gatt.

Issa 18-il xahar qabel l-1 ta’ Marzu 2010 jfisser Settembru 2008!  Dan ifisser li n-negozjati ilhom sejrin 4 snin. Bdew ftit wara l-elezzjoni ġenerali tal-2008.

In-negozjaturi ghan-nom tal-Gvern kellhom jikkunsidraw jekk il-pjanijiet tal-Gvern għal sptar ta’ Riabilitazzjoni ta’ madwar 280 sodda setgħux jitwettqu f’dan is-sit ta’ 75 kamra b’110 sodda. Il-ħtieġa li l-kapaċita tal-Isptar tiżdied għal iktar minn darbtejn u nofs tista’ tikkunsidraha billi l-ewwel tħares lejn il-potenzjal tas-sit u wara tara mal-MEPA jekk din il-possibilita tistax titwettaq.

Meta tkellem fil-Parlament il-Ministru Tonio Fenech ma ta’ l-ebda assigurazzjoni dwar jekk il-MEPA tistax toħroġ permess ta’ din ix-xorta. Għamel sewwa, għax jiena naħseb li hu diffiċli ħafna għall-MEPA li toħroġ permess bħal dan. L-issue tal-parking diġa issemmiet fil-Parlament mill-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni: li żżid il-parking b’iżjed mid-doppju m’huwiex faċli f’sit li hu ristrett. Ma dan trid taħseb biex iżżid il-faċilitajiet kollha biex il-kapaċita’ tagħhom tkun addattata għad-daqs ġdid tal-isptar. Jiena naħseb li dan ser ikun diffiċli ħafna. Naħseb li l-anqas jekk l-isptar jitwaqqa’ u jsir disinn mill-ġdid ma jista’ jinħoloq disinn aċċettabbli minħabba li is-sit hu wieħed ristrett!

Meta tqabbel din id-diffikulta’ mal-flessibilita’ sostanzjali li joffri l-Isptar San Luqa, t-team tan-negozjaturi u l-konsultenti tagħhom mill-Fondazzjoni għas-Servizzi Mediċi għandhom ħafna x’jisjegaw. Għax jekk diġa jidher ċar x’diffikultajiet hemm għalfejn tibda l-mixja f‘dak l-isqaq ?  Sqaq li fi żmien tlett snin jista’ jfisser li l-proċess ikollu jerġa’ jibda mill-ġdid b’ħela ta’ ħafna żmien u fondi pubbliċi.

It-tieni punt li rrid nagħmel hu dwar il-fatt li meta l-Gvern għażel li jikkonsidra l-Isptar San Filep immedjatament eskluda l-alternattivi l-oħra kollha li seta kien hemm.

Eskluda l-iSptar San Luqa li dwaru jidher li sar studju dettaljat, skond ma qal il-Ministru Cassar. Dan l-studju identifika li għall-isptar kollu l-ispiża ta’ refurbishment kienet ser tigi tiswa’ ftit inqas minn €40 miljun. Issa biex jinħoloq Sptar ta’ Riabilitazzjoni ta’ 280 sodda m’hemmx bżonn tal-Isptar San Luqa kollu iżda biss parti minnu. Meta tqis id-dewmien ta’ 4 snin negozjati mill-2008 lil hawn (u min jaf kemm ser indumu iktar) hu ċar li kieku ittieħdet id-deċiżjoni favur l-Isptar San Luqa mill-ewwel fl-2008, l-isptar ta’ riabilitazzjoni ilu lest u jiffunzjona għal tlett snin. B’deċiżjoni bħal din favur l-iSptar San Luqa  l-pazjenti kieku ilhom li emigraw għal  faċilitajiet aħjar mill-kurituri tal-isptar Mater Dei.

Waqt id-dibattitu Parlamentari ta’ nhar it-Tnejn issemmiet ukoll il-possibilita li hemm sidien ta’ lukandi  li kienu interessati li jipproponu illi l-lukanda tagħhom tkun konvertita għall-użu ta’ sptar ta’ riabilitazzjoni. Jiena naħseb li proposta ta’ din ix-xorta toffri diffikultajiet daqs is-sit tal-isptar San Filep  kemm għall-parkeġġ kif ukoll biex tipprovdi l-faċilitajiet kollha meħtieġa. Pero’ qabel ma tara l-proposta u tkun konxju ta’ dak li qed ikun offrut ma tistax tifforma opinjoni definittiva.

Meta nqis kollox naħseb li l-unika proposta sura hi li jintuża l-Isptar San Luqa.

Il-problema ma  ħoloqiex Frank Portelli li iddiskuta ma min kien interessat li jixtri l-isptar tiegħu. Ħoloqha l-Gvern li mexa ħażin mingħajr ma qies sewwa u bir-reqqa l-ftit riżorsi li suppost qiegħed jamministra.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu jagħmel sens li min ħa d-deċiżjonijiet jiġi mgħarbel sewwa qabel ma jkun iffirmat il-kuntratt.   Għalhekk hu meħtieġ li l-Parlament jiċċaqlaq.

published in Illum, Sunday 21st October 2012

A democratic test

The reaction of government to Franco Debono’s motion on St Philip’s Hospital is of serious concern. It will certainly be no feather in the cap for Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg if he has to face hearings in the European Parliament in the weeks to come as a possible successor of John Dalli. It is unheard of in a democracy to postpone the consideration of a motion in order that you have a free hand as a result of obstructing Parliament from expressing itself.

Tonio Borg as Leader of the House has to shoulder political responsibility for the manoeuvres which he is orchestrating in the House Business Committee. The motion calls for withholding the conclusion of an agreement between Government and Good Shepherd Group Limited until such time that the process leading to the agreement has been thoroughly examined by the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee.

Such actions contradict Tonio Borg’s credentials built up in the 70s and 80s as a result of which he is known to one and all as a democrat: a reasonable person, respecting the views of others. These manoeuvres point to a different Tonio Borg.

These manoeuvres are motivated by the fact that it is clear that government no longer enjoys the confidence of the House. Faced with such a fact any democrat would not dare to create obstacles to ensure that such a motion is not considered.

Last Monday’s debate in the House was conceded by government as it did not involve any decision taking. The debate revealed that there are a large number of unanswered questions in respect of the  proposed agreement to lease and eventually possibly purchase St Philip’s Hospital. These require an answer before not after the signing of the agreement.

A democratic government would ensure that Parliament expresses itself at the earliest, and once it has spoken it would seek to follow meekly as directed by Parliament.

This is a democratic test which government must face. So far it has avoided it.

 

Published in di-ve.com on Friday, 19 October 2012

L-Isptar San Filep: Frank w is-serjeta’ tal-Gvern

Fl-opinjoni tiegħi l-prezz miftiehem għall-eventwali biegħ tal-Isptar San Filep mhux wieħed kontroversjali. Tonio Fenech Ministru tal-Finanzi ftaħar fil-Parlament li l-prezz kien bargain. Qal nhar it-Tnejn li għadda illi n-negozjaturi għan-nom tal-Gvern kellhom struzzjonijiet biex jimxu ma’ l-inqas stima (dik tal-Fondazzjoni għas-Servizzi Mediċi) u lil sid l-isptar qalulu take it or leave it.

Frank Portelli sid l-Isptar permezz tal-ishma li għandu fil-kumpanija Golden Shepherd Group Limited  ftit seta jinnegozja minħabba l-istat finanzjarju ħażin tal-kumpanija. Kellu jaċċetta prezz baxx : 62% tal-istima oriġinali tal-periti tieghu.  Fil-fehma tiegħi l-isptar San Filep jiswa iktar mill-prezz miftiehem ta’ €12.4 miljuni. Imma dik m’hiex problema tal-Gvern, hi problema ta’ Frank Portelli li spiċċa kif spiċċa. Kien qiegħed jinnegozja minn posizzjoni ta’ djgħufija.

Uħud, anke f’kummenti fuq dan il-blog, jaħsbu li l-Gvern mexa b’favoritiżmu ma Frank Portelli minħabba s-sessjonijiet ta’ “qrar” li organizza bejn nagħaġ mitlufa tal-PN u l-Kap tal-PN f’Villa Arrigo qabel l-Elezzjoni Ġenerali tal-2008. Il-fatti magħrufa s’issa iżda, ma jippuntawx f’din id-direzzjoni.

Il-Ministru tal-Finanzi nhar it-Tnejn fil-Parlament ftaħar li l-istruzzjonijiet li kellu t-team ta’ negozjaturi  tal-Gvern kien li ma jiċċaqlaqx mill-iktar stima baxxa u jassigura li l-prezz tal-ftehim finali jkun tali li ma jkunx hemm diffikulta’ dwaru mal-Awditur Ġenerali u Public Accounts Committee. Naħseb li l-Ministru tal-Finanzi jaf daqsi li l-prezz hu biss wieħed mill-kriterji.

Fost il-kriterji l-oħra (kif imfisser f’artikli  oħra f’dan il-blog) hemm kemm ser jintlaħqu l-oġġettivi tal-proġett propost.

Meta nhar it-Tnejn fil-Parlament tkellem fuq il-permess meħtieg mill-MEPA biex l-Isptar jikber għall-ħtiġijiet li għandu l-Gvern, il-Ministru  Tonio Fenech wera li ma kellux idea x’ser jiġri!  Il-Ministru jaf li l-għan li l-Isptar San Filep ikun jista’ jikber għal daqs li joffri 280 sodda hu diffiċli ħafna li jintlaħaq.

Minkejja li l-iskop tal-proġett mhux ċar  jekk jistax jintlaħaq il-Gvern xorta ser jgħaġġel jiffirma. Fl-4 snin negozjati ma indenjax ruħu jippreżenta applikazzjoni. Kieku ilha deċiza u kien ikollu kollox bl-iswed fuq l-abjad. Daqstant hu serju l-Gvern!

A step in the right direction

The presentation by maverick MP Franco Debono of a motion requesting that Parliament and the Auditor General should examine the proposal that government takes over St Philip’s Hospital is a step in the right direction.

The decision for government to take over the private hospital was taken after negotiations between auditing firms representing government and the hospital owners concluded terms for an eight year lease with the option to purchase. No call for tenders was issued. The hospital owner however issued a call for an expression of interest in the acquisition of the hospital.

There are various matters which the Auditor General should examine.

First: is the proposed takeover of St Philip’s Hospital value for money or is it a political gimmick on the eve of general elections?

Second : isn’t the proposal to take over St Philip’s Hosptal just a confirmation of bad planning involved in the development of Mater Dei Hospital which has resulted in its being too small for the country’s needs so soon after being finalised?  Who was responsible for the Mater Dei brief which has resulted in wards bursting at the seams and  hospital corridors being transformed into wards? Who will shoulder political responsibility for this failure?

Third: is it right for government to negotiate with those who are in breach of the Companies Act through non-submission of audited accounts for a number of years?

Four companies are involved in St Philip’s Hospital. All of them have not submitted audited accounts for a number of years as can be noted through the list of documents available online  at the Registry of Companies. The Golden Shepherd Group Ltd   (C 14948) has last submitted its audited accounts on July 15, 2008. Private Health Investment Ltd (C 24386) has last submitted its audited accounts on February 1, 2007. Medicaid Ltd (C 5283) has last submitted its audited accounts on September 14, 2007. Biomed Laboratory Ltd (C 14303) has last submitted its audited accounts on October 12, 2007.

The Golden Shepherd Group is owned by Frank Portelli, Private Health Investment Ltd and Medicaid Ltd.  Private Health Investment Ltd is owned by Medicaid Ltd and Biomed Laboratory Ltd.  Medicaid Ltd is owned by Frank Portelli whilst Biomed laboratory Ltd is owned by Frank Portelli and Medicaid Ltd.

I await the Auditor General’s conclusions!   I also look forward to Dr Frank Portelli’s comments on government’s health policy and its implementation.

first published on di-ve.com Friday 12 October 2012