The island is very proud of its medical history and the services it provides. It earned a worldwide reputation for the care and recuperation of patients during WWI thanks to the quality of its nursing.
Recently, the Maltese healthcare system was ranked fifth in the world ahead of the United States of America and of the United Kingdom (2000). The University of Malta's medical school and the island's top-of-the-range hospitals, such as the Matar Dei, are the reason for such a high ranking. The faculty of medicine at the university is one of the oldest in Europe and boasts a medical, a dentistry and a nursing faculty. The Mater Dei Hospital which has recently expanded is one of the largest medical buildings in Europe. The hospital received a number of awards for medical excellence and research.
Public healthcare in Malta
The Maltese government provides comprehensive health care that is free at the point of delivery for all Maltese residents. It is funded by weekly social security contributions that all employers and employees pay (dependants are covered by employed family members). All Maltese residents are entitled to a full range of services in government health centres and hospitals. Foreigners who have moved to Malta are also entitled to public healthcare.
The state fund covers most medical services including specialist treatment, hospitalisation, prescriptions, pregnancy, childbirth and rehabilitation. People with a lower income receive free pharmaceuticals providing they are means-tested by the Department of Social Security. People suffering from a disease or multiple ailments also qualify for free treatment.
All EU nationals who have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to free healthcare in all European countries, including Malta. This card can be obtained from the health department in your country of residence.
Residents of the United Kingdom and Australia are entitled to free medical and hospital care in Malta for stays up to one month. This is due to a bilateral agreement between these two countries and Malta.
Non EU Citizens
All non-EU citizens are advised to take out travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. You should be aware of which activities are covered by your insurance. For example, as Malta is a very popular diving resort, you should make sure you are insured in the event of a dive going wrong.
For more information regarding expat health, health insurance and related issues in Malta, check out our expat health blog at ExpatHealth.org.