Malta has earned recognition as one of the world's top healthcare destinations. Despite its small size, the archipelago has a lot to offer when it comes to excellent care standards. Malta's healthcare system comprises both public and private sectors, and the islands have numerous facilities. Healthcare services in Malta are well priced, but in-hospital costs can add up.
Health insurance in Malta
Maltese citizens and expats with work permits have access to free healthcare in Malta. EU citizens can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access state healthcare during a short-term visit. UK citizens can use their Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaced the EHIC post-Brexit. Expats who are not in these categories will need to take out private insurance.
Luckily, there are multiple inexpensive medical insurance policies to choose from, which makes a private policy a worthwhile investment. Since healthcare in Malta is so affordable, some expats only take out basic hospital cover and pay out of pocket for day-to-day medical expenses, such as GP appointments and medication.
Public healthcare in Malta
Public healthcare in Malta is provided at two levels: public health centres (clinics) and hospitals. Waiting times at clinics are generally shorter as residents are assigned a public health centre based on their residential address.
Health centres provide specialised services such as immunisation, gynaecology, physiotherapy and mental healthcare. There are also general practitioners and nurses on site.
Private healthcare in Malta
Although the sector is small, private healthcare in Malta is accessible and highly regarded. Private hospitals offer the benefit of shorter waiting times and superior facilities, though naturally at a higher price than public facilities. That said, private hospitals in Malta are more affordable than in other European countries and are particularly popular with British patients who want to avoid long NHS waiting lists.
Pharmacies in Malta
Every village in Malta has at least one pharmacy, but most have more. Pharmacies dispense medication and provide GP services, while some have on-site specialists during specified times.
Most pharmacies are open from Monday to Friday from 8am or 9am to 6pm or 7pm, sometimes closing for a few hours around midday. On Saturdays, pharmacy hours are from 8am or 9am to 12pm. On Sundays and public holidays, pharmacies operate on a rotating schedule.
Emergency services in Malta
The emergency number in Malta is 112. Operators can speak both Maltese and English, and the line provides access to various emergency services.