Health Care in Malta
Malta was ranked 5th in the world, for its health services standard, by the World Health Organization (WHO). This compares well with USA (37th rank), Australia (32nd rank), Canada (30th rank) and UK (18th rank). Malta’s health care system closely resembles the British system, its former occupier.
Overall, Malta has excellent health care services with a lot of different options, which can be confirmed by both citizens, temporary workers, foreigners and tourists. Hospitals have modern infrastructure and modern equipment, and are well supported by a regional network of health centers. Getting help for minor problem is very smooth given the many options of private hospitals, health centres or the main governmental hospitals. What to choose mostly depends on costs and waiting times.
Free Health Care
All the citizens of Maltese can avail health services free of cost, at the point of delivery. Malta is one of the few countries where the health care cost has traditionally been footed by the state. The government funds the health services through taxation. Citizens of Malta are have no obligation to purchase health insurance, though all workers and employees pay National Insurance contributions. Of course, the only downside is that the waiting times are considerably longer than opting for one of the many private hospitals. This is well worth a check, much depending on your current insurance.
Most foreigners (foreign tourists and workers mostly) visiting Malta, need to buy private health insurance, as per government directive. Visitors from EU member states, must come with their European Health Insurance Card. Only the British and the Australians tourists and travelers visiting Malta for less than 30 days are exempt from the rule, and can avail free health provisions, because of a reciprocal health care arrangements with these two countries.
Malta is famous for its strong primary care health centers led by general practitioners. Secondary and tertiary services are provided by the government hospitals.
Foreign Workers in Malta’s Health Sector
One of the main reasons for the country’s high development rate is attributed to the highly productive workforce.
Malta attracts a sizable number of foreign workers every year. A lot of them work in the health care sector. Out of the total number of foreigners working in the country almost 66% are from European Union. The rest 33% come from 99 non-European countries, most from Africa and Asia (mostly from Philippines.
Filipinos form 80% of foreign workers coming from non-European countries, working in Malta. Almost half the Filipinos working in Malta are employed in the Heath sector. Most work as trained professionals in Hospitals & residential care givers (Nurses). The other foreigners from Asia includes Chinese & Indians.
The government is increasingly advertising Malta as the Mecca of medical tourism destination. Annually, Malta attracts 1.2 million tourists, more than 3 times the local population. Tourism infrastructure has seen a boom in Malta with a number of international hotel chains establishing themselves in the country. But the flip side is the destruction of traditional houses, due to meteoric rise in infrastructure development, causing some concern.
Malta is popular with British tourist seeking medical treatment. This has been made possible by hospitals in Malta seeking UK medical accreditation; Trent Accreditation system. It is also actively seeking American accreditation, once granted, it would enable the country to compete with Asia and Latin America in attracting wealthy American Medical tourists.
The steady stream of medical tourists has also seen medical professional (Highly qualified Doctors) making a bee line to work in the country’s hospitals. Most of the doctors are from the European Union, with Great Britain supplying the maximum.
Tourists and travelers to Malta are not required to produce vaccination certificates or insulation certificates on their arrival. Tap water is safe to drink. Milk, dairy products, local meat, vegetables, fruits and seafood are also safe to consume.
Hospitals in Malta
Malta is unique in its provision of healthcare services. It has a robust public health care system called, government health services, free at the point of delivery for all Maltese citizens, and an equally robust private health care system, making it one of the popular medical tourism destinations, across the developed world.
The largest government hospital and Malta’s primary hospital is the Mater Dei Hospital established in 2007. It reputedly boasts of one of the largest medical buildings in the European continent.
Other government hospitals in the country are:
Gozo General Hospital
Paul Boffa Hospital, specializing in Oncology
The St.Vincent De Paule Hospital, specializing in Geriatrics.
Malta also has some big private hospitals. The major superspeciality private hospitals are:
St. James Capua Hospital, an 80 bedded hospital
St. Phillip’s Hospital, a 75 bedded hospital.
St. James hospital, also operating a branch in Libya.
The University of Malta operates a medical school and a Faculty of Health Sciences. The Faculty of Health Sciences offers diploma, undergraduate degree and postgraduate degree courses in a number of disciplines.
Malta witnesses Brain Drain of its medical professionals to the British Isles. The government is taking measures to arrest this situation.
Given the fact that the first hospital in Malta was up and running in 1372, the Maltese have always given top priority to free, yet high quality health care services to its citizens. It has over the years redefined the concept of a caring state by providing high quality medical care and also conducting a myriad variety of operations in its famed hospitals. This enduring model of universal health care is being adopted by a few countries in Asia and Africa.