Healthcare in Malta

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in Malta if you go there on holiday or on a business trip.

The EHIC covers you for emergency treatment and for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions. It does not cover you if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment. In this case, see our section about Seeking medical treatment in Europe.

The EHIC also covers you for routine maternity care provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a serious, life-threatening emergency, call 112. This is the emergency number for ambulance, fire services and the police. Calling 112 is free of charge.

Other important phone numbers to note:

  • +356 2545 0000 – main hospital, Malta
  • +356 2156 1600 – Gozo Hospital
  • +356 2122 4001-7 – Malta police force
  • +356 2124 4371 – emergency helicopter rescue
  • +356 2123 8797 – emergency patrol boat rescue

Health services and costs

The Maltese public healthcare system is funded by taxation and national insurance in a similar way to the NHS in England.

If you move to Malta, you will have to pay contributions to the national insurance system, which in return gives you access to public healthcare.

If you are just visiting Malta and need healthcare, you need to have a valid EHIC to receive free public healthcare. Note the EHIC does not cover private treatment.

Be careful if healthcare arrangements are made by hotel staff or a travel representative. You might be told that you can claim back whatever is paid out, but if you receive private treatment, you will only be able to claim back your costs if you have private medical insurance.

If you need to call out a doctor in an emergency and you want the free treatment available under the EHIC, make sure you ask for state-funded healthcare.

It's always advisable to have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Repatriation for medical treatment is not covered by the EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for a refund.

Doctors

There are eight public health centres in Malta and Gozo. These centres provide general practitioner and nursing services, as well as specialised health services such as immunisation, speech and language therapy, antenatal and postnatal clinics, and wound clinics.

Find a public health centre.

Hospitals

You'll need a GP referral for any specialist or non-emergency hospital treatment.

The main public hospitals are the Mater Dei in Msida and the General Hospital in Gozo.

Dentists

Acute emergency dental treatment is provided free of charge. However, you should seek a public hospital or health centre, as it is not widely available. Most dentists practise privately. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are not refundable under EHIC arrangements.

Prescriptions

Any medication prescribed during inpatient treatment or for the first three days after you are discharged is free. You must show your EHIC. However, you will be charged in full for anything prescribed after this period. These charges are not refundable under EHIC arrangements.

If you have a condition that requires you to bring your own medicines to Malta, you should have a letter from you GP stating what the medicines are and why you need them.

If any of your medicines fall into the controlled drugs category, you need to comply with regulations on drugs exports in the UK.

Pharmacies

Pharmacies are open during normal shopping hours. On Sundays, chemists open on a roster from 9am-12.30pm in Malta and from 7.30-11am in Gozo.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you go. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

Since July 1 2014, you can also no longer be reimbursed for patient co-payments once you go back to the UK. Ensure you have a sufficient level of private insurance before go abroad.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK, however, most suppliers will be able to advise you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquide: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about travelling abroad with a lung condition.

Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You should speak to the co-ordinator in your UK dialysis unit before you travel. They will contact the dialysis unit in Malta nearest to where you will be staying. The provision of dialysis will be subject to availability in Malta. Alternatively, the Renal Association also offers a way to look up UK renal units.

Ensure you make your arrangements according to your UK schedule. There also may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel.

In addition, visit the National Kidney Federation website, which offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients, and guidelines for transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living in Malta

Working in Malta

If you move to Malta long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to register with the Maltese authorities at a local social security office. Find a social security district office in Malta.

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Malta, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to. Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office HM Revenue and Customs BX9 1AN United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3506
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, visit the Moving abroad section.

Once issued, register the S1 form with the Maltese Ministry of Health Entitlement Unit, which will issue you with a certificate of entitlement. You will need to show this form when seeking treatment in public health facilities.

Ministry of Health Entitlement Unit Ground Floor St Luke's Hospital St Luke's Square Guardamangia Hill Pieta Malta PTA 1010

  • Telephone: +356 25 95 24 01
  • Email: entitlements.mhec@gov.mt

Pensioners

If you are living in Malta and you receive an exportable UK Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form.

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your form via the International Pension Centre in the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 7777.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad) on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Once issued, register the S1 form with the relevant authority in Malta. Often you need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.

Once you have registered your S1 in Malta, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries.

Students

If you are moving to Malta to study or are currently studying in Malta as part of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government.

Also read:

Page last reviewed: 11/08/2016
Next review due: 11/08/2019