The session of the Labour Party Congress on the future of Health Services in Malta ended with a clear message – that the Maltese people need and deserve a State Hospital that is run efficiently and without undue delay. This will be the guideline for the PL manifesto for the forthcoming general elections.
During the main session of the PL congress held yesterday, a substantial number of experts in the medical field discussed the current problems and proposals for the future. Doctors, specialists, paramedics and other persons employed in the Health sector participated in his discussion. Prof. Charles Grixti, Surgeon and Senior Lecturer at the University, provided an outlook of the Health sector situation in Malta and also put forward proposals for improvement.
At the end of this session, PL Leader Joseph Muscat proposed that the outcome will form the basis of the guidelines for the Labour party policy for the future.
Dr. Muscat referred to the congress as a ground breaking exercise in politics. He said that politicians should listen to the people’s concerns and suggestions. He continued by saying that the PL discusses each topic with the people who are involved in that particular area. In fact, the Labour party session on health was held with the participation of doctors, medical staff and all those that are involved in the Health service, including patients.
The correct attitude of a modern political movement is that of listening to the citizens of the country, which is the only way of staying close to the people, said Dr. Muscat. He said that Malta prides itself in its doctors, specialists and health professionals and that they are amongst the best in the world.
Joseph Muscat said that the major problems arising out of the discussion were the problems concerning Mater Dei Hospital. He stressed, however, that the problem is not restricted to Mater Dei. The real solution to the problems concerning the Health service in Malta lies in the improvement of Primary Health Care, community health, in Health centres and through investment in specialized clinics. This will bring health care closer to the people, said the PL Leader.
Joseph Muscat said that the country needs more than a simple increase in hospital beds. We should not seek temporary solutions but we should tackle the root of the problem.
The Labour Leader said that one of the solutions in Health care would be the greater involvement of the private sector. The government must ensure a synergy between public and private health service providers. The concept of public private partnerships should not be restrictive and should expand beyond PPPs in the construction of roundabouts and old people’s homes, said Dr. Muscat. This is the way forward, through which we can improve health service on which we can build an efficient service for the future.
Bureaucracy, especially in the Health sector, is a time consuming obstacle, primarily for patients. This excessive bureaucracy is creating certain loopholes that do not allow for accountability and the people on the receiving end are the patients and Maltese citizens. The PL in government will tackle the problem of bureaucracy, including that in medical services, added Joseph Muscat.
The citizen has a right to medical services. We should ensure that medical services suit the patient’s needs instead of the patient having to adjust to the service offered. The country should be ready to anticipate the people’s needs and should provide more information to the patients. Joseph Muscat referred to the discussion at the PL Congress and at the need of having a more open government in this sector. Another point that arose during the discussion was the introduction of management of hospital appointments online.
These are the challenges that a new Labour government will be facing. The country needs help and goodwill from all sides, but a new Labour government will face these problems and solve them, unlike the present government that has not managed to find a solution to ever increasing problems, primarily because they have not been tackled properly.
Dr. Muscat also spoke about the Gozo General Hospital and that the investment was not properly planned, resulting in a deterioration of the Hospital. This is also mirrored in the state of Mount Carmel Hospital and in Homes for the elderly.
Investment in human resources should be carried out across the board. A new PL government will invest heavily in professionals in the Health sector but will also ensure that workers are not abused. A new PL government will also ensue that tenders will not be awarded to companies that abuse their employees. This would be raising standards throughout, concluded Joseph Muscat.