Malta HiT (2017)
Overall, the Maltese health system has been making remarkable progress, with improvements in avoidable mortality and low levels of unmet need. Maltese life expectancy continues to be high, and Maltese people spend on average close to 90% of their lifespan in good health, longer than in any other EU country. Malta has recently increased the proportion of GDP spent on health to above the EU average, though the private share of expenditure is still higher than in many EU countries.
The health care system offers universal coverage to a comprehensive set of services that are free at the point of use for people entitled to statutory provision although patients often choose to visit private primary care providers. The historical pattern of integrated financing and provision is shifting towards a more pluralist approach and in 2016 a new public-private partnership contract for three existing hospitals was agreed.
The total number of doctors and GPs per capita is at the EU average, the number of specialists remains relatively low; education and training are also being further strengthened in order to retain more specialist skills in Malta.
The main outstanding challenges include:
- Adapting the health system to an increasingly diverse population;
- Increasing capacity to cope with a growing population;
- Redistributing resources and activity from hospitals to primary care and strengthening primary care;
- Strengthening the mental health sector;
- Building the health information system to support improved monitoring and evaluation;
- Ensuring access to expensive new medicines whilst still making efficiency improvements; and
- Addressing medium-term financial sustainability and ageing.
Malta is also concerned about, and has designated as its 2017 EU Presidency priorities, childhood obesity and Structured Cooperation (as a way of ensuring access to highly specialized and innovative services, medicines and technologies).