The beautiful weather and sandy beaches of Malta bring in tourists all the year round. However, Malta is also making a name for itself within the EU for being a destination where tourists can relax. Many would be surprised to know that Malta was hailed as the ‘Nurse of the Mediterranean’ in the 16th century. This reputation has transcended over time to the present day – Malta is able to provide tourists with a high quality medical experience.
Medical tourism investment by the government has been significant to build this niche segment. By forming partnerships between the tourism industry of the public sector and the private hospitals, Malta is actively promoting and marketing this destination for the tourists to visit around the region. The leading attractions are the English-speaking foreign trained professionals, excellent hotel accommodations, and obviously state-of-the-art healthcare facilities.
In this guide you will read about:
Guide to Medical Tourism in Malta – Facts, Trends, News, Services, Research, Business and Updates by Dr Prem
|Time Zone||CET(UTC+1) CEST(UTC+2)|
|Medical Tourism Status||Birkirkara, Qormi, Mosta, Żabbar|
|Clothing||During summer months, lightweight clothing typical of any
European summer including shorts, t-shirts and hat. Whereas,
in winter month, lightweight clothing but with something a
little warmer for cooler evenings.
|Mortality Rate||8.49 deaths/ 1000 population|
|Life Expectancy||78.8M /82.0F|
|Hospitals JCI accredited||0|
|Recommended Vaccinations||Hepatitis B, Yellow fever, Diphtheria-tetanus, MMR|
|Population||452,515||Reliability of Police Services||29/140|
|Global Competitiveness||5.12/7||Physician Density||28/140|
|Tourism Competitiveness||4.9/7||Hospital Beds||39/140|
|GDP/Capita||$27,022||Quality of Air Transport Infrastructure||25/140|
|Health and Hygiene||6.1 /7||International Air Transport Network||32/140|
|Safety and Security||5.9/7||Quality of Roads||103/140|
|Air Transport Infrastructure||4.8/7||Hotel Rooms||1/140|
|Tourism Infrastructure||6.3/7||Tourism Openness||9/140|
|Cultural Infrastructure||3.1/7||Attitude of Population Towards Foreign Visitors||17/140|
Situated in the southern Europe, Malta is an island nation that is proud of its history of more than 7000 years. The historic nation embraces rich culture, which the tourists can experience across the island. Featuring many historical sites, including palaces, caves and museums, Malta also has numerous sunny beaches, which attract tourists from different parts of the world. Housing three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Megalithic Temples that comprise some ancient freestanding structures, the southern European nation also holds a strategic position and becomes an important state not only for tourists but also for commercial purposes, in the region. With proper medical tourism marketing, medical travelers from other destinations can visit Malta for treatment and tourism.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is essentially an archipelago that is comprised of three islands, i.e. Malta, Gozo and Comino, and a number of small-inhabited islands, together with Cominotto and Filfla. Lying between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates, the island nation has few neighbors, which include Sicily in the north, Tunisia in the west and Libya in the south, in the Mediterranean. Stretched in 122 sq miles area, Malta is one of the smallest nations in the world.
With total population of around 408,000, Malta is one of the most densely populated countries not only in the EU but also in the world. A larger part (about 97 percent) of the total population of Malta is comprised of native Maltese people, while the minorities include Brits and so on, who have retired to the island nation. The people of Malta are very hospitable who welcome tourists with a warm heart. There are two official languages in Malta, Maltese and English, while the former is the constitutional national language; the latter is spoken by around 88 percent of the total population in the country. There is very little communication problem here, so private investors can pool in medical tourism investment to boost the economy.
The Maltese calendar is full of religious festivities and cultural events, which are celebrated by both young and old throughout the year. For long, the Maltese Islands have been considered as a destination for families and older couples; however, with the addition of the Isle of MTV in recent years, the island nation has managed to shed off its conventional reputation and since then, it has emerged as a vibrant place.
Offering an array of events, the small yet lively nation has something for everyone. Apart from religious and cultural events, Malta also hosts a number of intercontinental invents, including International Spring Orchestra Festival, Malta International Jazz Festival and Isle of MTV and Malta Music Week which are becoming popular among foreign tourists.
The weather conditions in Malta are largely influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. Featuring a subtropical climate, winters in the island nation are usually mild with frequent rain showers while summers are warm/ hot and dry. August is the warmest month in Malta and the temperature during this period ranges between 28°C and 34°C during the day and 19°C and 24 °C at night, while January remains the coldest month with temperature raining between 12°C and 20°C during the day and 7°C and 12 °C at night. Unlike most other European nations, the Maltese Islands remain “green” throughout the year, which makes it a popular tourist destination.
Malta presents a nationalized or public healthcare system under the Ministry of Health, which is funded through general taxation and employer/employee monthly contribution. The public healthcare system covers the cost of treatment to ensure free medical care for all its citizens. The nationalized healthcare system provides free care, which include diagnosis, treatment and medication, for patients suffering from chronic diseases.
On the other hand, the private healthcare sector is growing rapidly across the nation to provide personalized and specialized treatment for domestic as well as foreign patients. The healthcare services in both the public and private sectors are of high quality, which allows the Maltese people to lead a healthy life, while attracting medical tourists as well.
Quality of Healthcare
Maintaining a very high standard of healthcare, Maltese people are proud of their state-of-the-art hospitals and well-qualified physicians. The medical staff is well versed in English, which removes the lingual barriers with the foreign patients. Physicians practicing in the public sector handle more common procedures and treatments, while the private surgeons provide care for the more complicated cases.
Despite no international (JCI) accreditations, most of the Maltese medical centers provide quality healthcare for domestic as well as foreign clients. According to a recent survey conducted across the EU regarding the healthcare services in Malta, around 81 percent of the medical tourists are fully satisfied with the quality of healthcare in the country.
Medical Tourism in Malta
The Maltese government is investing heavily in the niche healthcare and medical sectors across the nation to attract medical tourists. Combining the private healthcare sector with the public tourism industry, Malta has become one of the most popular medical tourism destinations in the region. Most of the medical professionals practicing in Malta get training in Europe and are well versed in English to ensure quality healthcare to domestic as well as foreign patients.
Malta was ranked number five in WHO’s ranking of the healthcare systems way back in 2000. According to the independent survey by Numbeo, healthcare system of Malta ranked second amongst European countries. The healthcare system resembles the NHS of the UK. Due to the small size of the country, there is a hospital or clinic easily accessible. Foreign patientscould access private hospitals as there is no waiting list in private facilities. Though there are no JCI accredited facilities, there are regulatory and certifying bodies in Malta, such as Servizz.
Top healthcare facilities in Malta
Mater Dei is the primary hospital of Malta. It’s claim to fame is because it is one of the biggest hospital buildings in the whole of Europe.
St. James Hospital in Sliema opened in 1985, and it strives to provide excellent healthcare with technological innovations. The sympathetic attitude of the physicians and nursing staff is well-known here.
A newer hospital is St. Thomas, which has managed to impress domestic and foreign patients with efficient and swiftly delivered healthcare. The hospital hires only top surgeons and physicians who have gained the trust of patients and given them peace of mind regarding the quality of healthcare.
Popular treatments sought by medical tourists in Malta
Cosmetic surgery is most popular treatment that medical tourists prefer in Malta, followed by dental treatments, orthopedic surgery, blood tests, diagnostic scans, laser hair removal, and cardiac surgery. The hospitals use state-of-the-art technology such as laminar flow ventilation which helps to reduce the risk of postoperative infections by about 50 percent.
The Comino and Gozo islands are famous for their beauty and charm and medical tourists prefer these places for pre-procedure island hopping and fun. The friendliness of the Maltese has attracted foreign patients over the years to the nation, thus increasing the revenue from medical tourism business.
The prices for surgeries in Malta are competitive – for example, the cost of an orthopedic surgery along with accommodation is much less in Malta than in the UK, and patients can have significant savings. Cosmetic surgery and dental clinics offer attractive discounts and packages boosting the medical tourism business, and medical tourism facilitator companies arrange for patients to travel here, especially from Europe, due to the low-cost factor.
Breast Augmentation which costs between 5000 to 10,000 USD, costs only around 3,000 USD leading to cost savings of 40% to 70%. Root canal in the US costs approx 1,200 USD and only 75 USD in Malta thus giving patients whopping savings of 93%.
Laser Hair removal costs 430 USD in the States and 50 USD in Malta thus providing 88% savings.
Excellent healthcare professionals
Many Maltese surgeons receive raining abroad, where they receive the same qualifications as UK doctors i.e. FRCS or Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Many study, train and qualify in the US too. The medical school in Malta trains students rigorously for approximately ten years so that they provide high quality treatment. Accreditation committees such as SAC and The Medical Association of Malta and the Association of Surgeons of Malta act as regulatory associations to promote the high standard of surgical practice according to EU norms.
High comfort level for medical tourists
The hospitals and clinics provide treatment in affordable but luxurious ambience, multilingual physicians and nurses. The warmth of caregivers and the cheerful attitude adds to the emotional comfort of the patients which leads to faster recovery. The sunny climate provides the natural stimulus to patients getting better. Medical tourism facilitator companies promote Malta for the great tourism opportunity and excellent treatments.
Most of the clinics are located in the city centers so it is easier for patients and their companions to find everything they need easily, as they can just walk there.
Availing treatment in Malta during Covid era
Malta usually receives medical tourists from the UK, Italy and France. The UK and Italy have historic links between them, as people of these countries favored Malta for its climate. Recently the connection between the French people and Malta has become stronger due to travel, retiring to Malta or setting up their business in Malta.
Free travel between these countries have received a setback during the covid era, but fully vaccinated medical tourists, health tourists and tourists can travel from the EU on a Shengen visa. UK travelers who are not vaccinated are banned from entering the nation.
85% of Maltese people have been vaccinated till now, making the island a safer place for medical travelers, or those looking to recuperate in a sunny environment. With medical tourism marketing, Malta can become a preferred destination for patients all over the world.