Maltese National Health Service (NHS)
Your Social Security Number (SSN) payments at work!
You may be able to get some access to this with an EU passport and an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), but personally I did not try. Once Bee and I had our Residence Cards we gave it a go though – it went like this:
- We found our local health centre on the health.gov.mt website
- When we got to Gzira Health Centre, the receptionist took Bee’s Residence Card (as we were there for her) and gave her a form for the doctor to fill in
- We had a number given to us so we knew when it was our turn
- The doctor was very lovely and wrote out the prescription Bee needed with no fuss. Unfortunately the NHS here doesn’t cover the particular brand she wanted but as it’s the best one for her so we got that
- We took the prescription to the pharmacy – this medication costs around €10 per packet.
Private Healthcare (not as expensive as it sounds!)
I need a regular injection, so for the first few months (before I received my Residence Card) I attended the local pharmacy, which is also a doctors’ clinic – I understand this is common practice across Malta.
There was no numbering system in the waiting room, so make sure you take a good look around so you know when it’s your turn – I embarrassed myself trying to go in too soon! The doctor himself was very genial and knowledgable – he taught me the new word ‘trans-sphoidal’ – and did the necessary with minimal fuss.
He charged €10 for the appointment + €0.44 for the syringe, and the medication I was injected with comes at a price of €154.
Getting a prescription for ongoing medication
This was one of the trickier processes to figure out when I arrived here. I was given a lot of conflicting and contradictory advice by doctors, pharmacists, and so on. Basically, it all came down to this:
- See GP for referral to specialist – €10
- Make an appointment and see specialist at Mater Dei hospital. Take any relevant documentation, such as a letter from your previous doctor in your home country.
- Specialist should then apply for a Certificate Of Entitlement (also known as a ‘Yellow Card’) on your behalf.
- Collect it from the Yellow Card office at St Luke’s Hospital in Pieta.
- Use the Yellow Card to get medicines from your local pharmacy, which you nominate when you see the staff at St Luke’s Hospital.