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Doctors & Hospitals for Expats in Malta

Submitted: November 2013

Healthcare standards in Malta are very high, even in public hospitals. According to the WTO, Malta has the 5th best healthcare system in the world (France 1st, Italy 2nd, UK 18th, US 37th).  If you need a specific surgery that requires a lot of equipment, you may be sent for treatment abroad (typically the UK).

There is no charge to pay at user-point, unless you are not subject to Maltese social security legislation. The fees tend to be fairly cheap by European standards, and everybody speaks English.

Malta can sometimes be viewed as a destination for medical tourism. For instance, Britons may come to Malta to avoid the NHS waiting lists back home. On the other hand, US citizens may find that Malta is one of the few English-speaking countries with cheap, high-quality healthcare.

If you are not happy with the Maltese healthcare system for any reason, you can still consider postponing treatment until after you leave Malta. In any event, you must go to a hospital if you have an emergency. See Health Emergencies for Expats in Malta.

Finding a doctor

You should register with a general practitioner (GP) in your local area as soon as possible. A GP may refer you to a specialist if he believes you need it. In the public system, you need prior GP referral before going to a specialist.

Feel free to:

  • think twice if a doctor suggests a complicated, expensive operation
  • ask your doctor if he has an out-of-hours service.

Word of mouth can help you a lot. Having discussions about healthcare make you more informed.

Waiting lists

Healthcare in public establishments is good, but there might be waiting lists if you require non-urgent hospital treatment. Many Maltese citizens are not happy with these waiting times, and decide to go private. They pay extra for this, but they are at least sure to get treatment shortly.

Out-of-pocket costs

Even if you are an insured person under Maltese social security legislation, you may have some out-of-pocket costs. These could include:

  • Dentistry, other than emergency dental care
  • Prescription drugs, unless you get State support because you have a low-income or a chronic disease
  • Private healthcare
  • Medical costs incurred outside Malta, unless a reciprocal agreement applies. See National Health Services for Expats in Malta

 

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