Discussions with doctors, nurses about Mater Dei to start soon - 20/9/2006

link to The Times

Discussions with doctors, nurses about Mater Dei to start soon
Cynthia Busuttil

Discussions about how Mater Dei Hospital will operate once it opens doors next year should start within the coming weeks with the Medical Association of Malta and the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said yesterday.

Questioned by Super One journalist Charlon Gouder during a discussion at the Granaries, Floriana about the migration plan from St Luke's Hospital, Dr Gonzi said the important thing was to establish how the new hospital would operate.

He guaranteed that the government would do its best to ensure that Mater Dei Hospital would bring about a quality leap for the patients as well as the staff, adding that in the meantime work was still going on to address the problems at St Luke's Hospital.

The discussion, which was held as part of the Independence Day celebrations, was highly charged, and at times Dr Gonzi and Mr Gouder could hardly be heard above the din of applause and comments by the crowd.

Dr Gonzi yesterday mentioned 2008 as the year when the general election would be held.

The Ta' Qali crafts village project would have progressed substantially by election day, he added, after explaining that the government wanted this to be a public-private partnership.

Questioned about the White Rocks complex, Dr Gonzi said work had been stopped because the contractor had breached the tender conditions.

He accepted that the rate of inflation was among the highest in Europe, but quickly added that the government was doing its utmost to control. He cited the increasing fuel prices several times.

When the issue of property prices was raised, Dr Gonzi said one of the reasons for extending development boundaries was to try and restrain property prices from continuing to spiral. He voiced his support for the Hondoq ir-Rummien project because it would promote economic activity in Gozo.

Asked to list two positive things about Labour leader Alfred Sant and Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Harry Vassallo, Dr Gonzi said he always admired people who entered politics to work for their country. He said this applied to both these politicians, adding that although he believed that his (Dr Gonzi's) policy was better, he still respected Dr Sant.

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