Healthcare in MaltaThe beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta has long been popular as a holiday destination for Brits looking for sunshine away from home. Very few of these people will fall ill when they are away, but it always pays to be prepared for every eventuality and work out whether EHIC cover or full travel insurance is more appropriate for your needs. Both have benefits, and it is important to understand how the Maltese health system works.
EHIC in MaltaThe Maltese healthcare system in funded through general taxation, and works in a very similar way to the NHS. In order to access Maltese healthcare as a UK citizen you need to have your EHIC card, so make sure you apply for one before leaving home. EHIC won’t cover you for private treatment. The Malta government health website will help you search for GPs or specialists throughout Malta and Gozo, and all information is in English. If you need to see a GP or be admitted to hospital, your treatment will be free of charge, but you may need to hand over copies of your EHIC and passport. If you are relying on a tour rep or hotel receptionist to make arrangements for you to see a doctor, make sure they know that you expect to be treated under the state system.
Most dentists in Malta practise privately, but some emergency dental treatment will be covered by the state system. Any medication you are given in hospital will not be charged for, or for the first three days after you are discharged. Anything more than this has to be paid at full price and cannot be claimed back from EHIC.
In general, the standard of healthcare in Malta is excellent, and all doctors and dentists will speak good English. Pharmacists in Malta are well trained and are usually the best place to go for minor ailments. Pharmacy prices are comparable to the UK and everyone will speak good English.
Travel Insurance and Private Medicine in MaltaThe private medicine sector in Malta is increasing in size, and there are three state of the art private hospitals on the island. If you are taken to one of these hospitals, you will be expected to pay the full price of all treatment unless you are covered by medical insurance. Always make sure you speak to your insurer as soon as you can to get them to agree to meet the cost. Being admitted to a private hospital will allow you to be treated quicker, and will give you access to more luxurious surroundings and individual attention. Malta is a popular “health tourism” destination, and if you are travelling to the island specifically to undergo a cosmetic procedure, then this is very unlikely to be covered by any form of insurance.
As well as giving you access to private hospitals, medical and travel insurance will also cover the costs of having to rearrange flights home in case of emergency and a whole host of other travel related disasters too.