Why should I choose Malta for medical treatment?
The British government will pay patients for treatment abroad, in an effort to cut waiting lists in the publicly-funded health service.
Malta is an ideal destination for medical treatment – for a start there are no language barriers, doctors, nurses, staff are multilingual. Maltese people are renowned for their hospitality.
Medical Consultants are European trained (mostly UK trained), and visitors, especially the British, feel at home in Malta, a former British colony. Our winter is usually pretty mild and what is striking upon arrival in Malta is the amount of natural light. I once asked a German lady why she keeps coming to Malta year in year out, and she replied “for the light”. Natural light is in fact a great healer and a natural anti depressant – it boosts your immune system and I consider it an important factor when choosing a destination for medical treatment, especially when it comes to convalescence.
Who is the typical foreign patient who chooses to come over specifically for medical treatment?
I would say typically a British national who has been on the NHS waiting list for a long time and requires a hip or knee replacement is the typical person who enquires about our services – although we also have enquires about cataract operations, ENT operations, Hernia operations and recently also enquiries about Cosmetic Surgery.
But why should I choose Malta, and let’s say not a larger European country like France or Germany?
That’s a very interesting question – bigger is not better, Malta has an excellent health service, second to none. A bigger country may be more impersonal.
You should note that when a number of British patients on the NHS waiting list in the UK were sent to Germany and to France on a pilot project - although the treatment received was good, the patients expressed a number of concerns; one particular concern was the language problem. Nurses in both countries had difficulty with the English language and could not communicate adequately with the patients.
Malta has no such problem. English is our second official language and this gives us an edge as our staff can communicate extremely well with patients.
Obviously our weather is unbeatable. What else can you want? To receive the best possible treatment amongst friendly people and then to convalesce in the Mediterranean – we also recognize that it is important to have some moral support from your family and to this end we provide free accommodation for one relative / partner free of charge whilst the patient is in our hospital.
Let’s say I am a patient and I am convinced about choosing Malta for my medical treatment. Why should I choose St Philip’s Hospital?
Seeing is believing. You have seen St Philips Hospital with your own eyes – this is supported by the positive feed back from 99 per cent of our patients. You do realize that more than a million tourists come to Malta every year and inevitably some fall ill. We have treated a significant number of these patients at St Philips Hospital and their testimonials fill us with pride If you have some time, visit the Testimonials section in our website to see the sort of the feedback we are receiving regularly from patients, I must say British people – who are supposed to be reserved seem to express their appreciation most when writing to us once they go back home
What are the strengths of St Philip’s Hospital ?
I feel that the main advantage of a relatively small hospital (75 beds) is the personal service that our staff can and do provide. You are not a number – we do not refer to you as a Case – you are our patient - Our accent is on quality care. We care and I am proud to say that we provide a nurse patient ratio of not less than 1 to 5 for normal care that is one nurse is responsible to look after 5 or 6 patients. Patients who are more dependent may have a one to one nursing care.
But in reality, if I am a British patient on the NHS waiting list, is it a hassle to come over to St Philip’s Hospital for a hip or knee replacement?
Not at all. British patients have to travel fair distances to receive treatment in the UK – sometimes they have to wait a very long time too. Coming to Malta is straight forward – a 3 hour flight , with2 or 3 flights a day. Once you arrive in Malta we will look after you - for a start we will collect you from the airport in Malta - after an initial assessment of your condition we will normally operate within a few days. Even for a hip or knee replacement I would expect that you will walk out of hospital in one week.
What about the hospital rates? Will it cost me a lot to be treated at St Philip’s Hospital?
Most prices for planned surgical procedures, such as hip or knee replacement cost around 30 per cent less than in the UK. Remember though that the European court of justice has ruled that all European citizens who have been on the NHS waiting list for a considerable amount of time, are entitled to reimbursement if they opt to receive treatment in a European country such as Malta
Do you mean that if I am a British patient on the NHS waiting list, I can come over to St Philip’s Hospital in Malta for free?
If you have been waiting for treatment for more than six months you could be entitled to receive free treatment abroad under EU rules. Obviously you should confirm this with your health authorities prior to making arrangements for your operation. However, I confirm that we have had a number of cases who required hip or knee replacement surgery the operation was performed within days at St Philip’s Hospital and when these patients returned to the UK they were in a position to apply for reimbursement for all the expenses sustained.
But will I be able to determine how much it will cost me to receive treatment at St Philips for a specific operation, let’s say knee or hip replacement before I decide to book?
Actually, our fixed price packages are your guarantee. There are no hidden costs and the prices are fixed. We also offer a special quality assurance guarantee but please do read the terms and conditions.
What will such fixed price packages include?
Our all Inclusive fixed price package for hip or knee replacement includes the following:
Length of stay: Normally a maximum of 10 nights.
1. Use of operating Theatre
2. Nursing care
5. Accommodation and Meals
Price also includes:
1. Surgeon’s Fees
2. Anaesthetist’s fees
3. Laboratory Tests
5. ECG, if required
6. Blood Transfusion or Cell Saver if required
7 All theatre high cost consumables
What happens if a patient suffers complications in the first 30 days from discharge from the hospital?
If the consultant confirms that the complications which have arisen are directly related to the condition for which treatment has been given and these complications occur less than 30 days from the day of first discharge there will be no charge for readmission for the same number of days as the number of days in the initial package.
What will happen when I arrive at St. Philip’s Hospital ?
On arrival at St. Philip’s Hospital you will be greeted by our receptionists. A member of the nursing staff will show you to your room and familiarise you with your surroundings. You will then be admitted by a nurse who will check your temperature, pulse and blood pressure and take down any relevant details. The nurse will also ask you for a urine sample for routine tests. A detailed medical history will be taken - You may require an ECG which is another routine test which will be performed by the nursing staff. It is painless and involves being attached to several leads that will print a tracing of your heart. This is performed in the privacy of your own room.
We now have an online booking form and you may fill in the form to enable us to tailor make the treatment for you.
The choice will be given to people who have waited more than six months for an operation. The government said it is trying to tackle decades of under investment in the National Health Service. But the opposition Conservative party said the scheme is about political expediency rather than clinical priorities.
Patient groups said it will raise patients' expectations and the government must now fulfill those expectations.
Source BBC News website, 6 December, 2001
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - UK
Treating More Patients and Extending Choice: Overseas Treatment for NHS Patients.Update on Commissioning Treatment for Patients in the European Economic Area.
Treatment for patients in the European Economic Area is one of the options open to NHS bodies seeking to increase the number of patients treated and reduce waiting times. The Department has received some helpful comments on attached draft guidance and a revised version will shortly be published. In the meantime, the department would like to remind NHS organisations that lead commissioning arrangements have been set up to assist NHS bodies wishing to refer patients overseas. The lead commissioners are Guy's and St Thomas' Trust (contact Kevin Thorogood on 0207 922 8159, email email@example.com), who deal with capacity in Belgium, Germany and Northern Europe, and Kent and Medway Health Authority (contact Peter Huntley on 01304 205 706, email Peter.Huntley@ekentha.nhs.uk), who deal with France, Spain and Southern Europe in general. If you are a healthcare provider interested in providing treatment abroad for NHS patients or sending clinical teams to England, please contact one of the lead commissioners for further information. The Department recommends that the NHS locally use these lead commissioning arrangements. If you do not intend to do so, you should consult the lead commissioners before entering into any contracts with overseas hospitals or intermediary organisations. In particular, the Department of Health has now completed a corporate diligence process concerning the company Operations Abroad. As a result of that process the Department of Health has advised the NHS' lead commissioners for overseas treatment that they should not invite Operations Abroad to tender for contracts to treat NHS patients overseas. If you require further information please contact Tim Baxter on 0207 210 5740.
Source Department of Health website, 10 October, 2002