Chris Said calls for independent inquiry over Gozo hospital helicopter delay

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Chris Said calls for independent inquiry over Gozo hospital helicopter delayOpposition Spokesperson for Gozo Affairs and Constitutional Reform Chris Said, has called for an independent inquiry, following reports in the media of the death of a Gozitan heart patient “because the helicopter service run by Steward Healthcare was not available to take him to Mater Dei.”

The Nationalist MP added that according to reports “he was taken to the Gozo Hospital at 10am, from where he should have immediately been taken to Mater Dei Hospital by the Steward Healthcare helicopter, the company which runs the Gozo hospital. However the helicopter was not available, and the patient suffered another heart attack in the Gozo hospital. He died at 4.30pm in the afternoon following his transfer to Mater Dei.”

Chris Said stated that “Steward Healthcare and the authorities have tried to hide the facts about this incident. He added that the privatisation of Gozo’s healthcare “now threatens the lives and health of its people.”

“For this Gozo helicopter service for patients, the Government pays Steward Healthcare € 1,200,000 a year, compared to € 28,000 which was the annual average amount paid to the Armed Forces for the same service – the Government paid the army € 800 per trip for an average of 35 trips per year.”

The MP said that “this is not the first case in which the Steward Healthcare helicopter was not available to take patients to Mater Dei.”

Chris Said concluded by saying that “it is clear that the privatisation of the Gozo hospital has been done at the expense of the lives and health of Gozitans, the authorities must take responsibility for this case and a truly independent inquiry needs to take place.

Photograph: Anthony Zammit

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