In recent months Dr Frank Portelli was negotiating the sale of St Philip’s Hospital to a number of Italian business people. Dr Portelli was ready to sell it for €18 million. Even Johns Hopkins University showed an interest in acquiring shares in this private hospital.
For the sale to go ahead they wanted a guarantee from government that at any one time St Philip’s Hospital would have 120 patients to make it viable.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi is said to have given instructions to Health Minister Joe Cassar to facilitate this deal. But negotiations stalled.
When Prime Minister Gonzi appointed MEP Simon Busuttil to be his special delegate and start meeting disgruntled voters to try and win them back, Dr Portelli was one of the first on the list.
Dr Busuttil tried to persuade Dr Portelli to get involved in the PN’s campaign like he did in 2008 when he used to organize meetings to win back disenchanted voters.
Dr Portelli did not show any enthusiasm to join the PN campaign this time but pressed for a deal with government on St Philip’s Hospital. While trying to keep his lines open with the Italian businessmen and Johns Hopkins University for the eventual sale of the hospital for €18 million he started negotiating with government the rent of St Philip’s Hospital for €15 million, a €1,000,000 a year for 15 years, with the hospital remaining his after 15 years.