Queen Mary in Malta

Barts and London - Why Malta?

At QMUL, we’re very much aware that we’re part of a global society, one bearing both challenges as well as opportunities.

Our first international campus is proof of our determination to be at the forefront of medical education. Malta, like the UK, has a proud history of expert healthcare, continuing through to the present day.

The QMUL Malta campus has the honour of being the first ever medical school located on Gozo.

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Why Malta?

As a former British colony and an active Commonwealth member country, Malta continues to hold deep and historic links to the UK, at multiple levels. The island is completely bilingual with both English and Maltese holding official status. It also enjoys excellent communication links to Europe.

This, together with the country’s long history of medical systems and healthcare excellence (ranked 5th in the World Health Organisation’s ranking of world health systems), made Malta an optimal choice for Barts and The London’s global growth.

The country’s current drive to upgrade and expand medical care falls in line with our University’s priorities and we are proud to be part of this change.

The building of the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry Malta campus was managed by Steward Healthcare and completed in October 2019. QMUL Malta staff and students moved from our former home of 2 years at the Sir M.A Refalo 6th Form College into the new QMUL Malta campus on 26th October 2019.  The state-of-the-art campus is situated on the grounds of Gozo General Hospital and features access to a 21st century Anatomy Centre.

 

Development of the Maltese Health System

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks Malta 5th in the world in terms of health system performance.

 

Total Population (2019) 493,600
Gross National Income per capita (US $, 2018)    26,480
Life expectancy at birth (2016)        m.80 f.83
Probability of dying under 5 (per 1000 live births, 2018)         7
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years (per 1000 population, 2016) m.71 f.38
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2014)     3072
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2014)         9.8

 Sources: World Health Organisation; Eurostat

 

Nurse of the Mediterranean

Geopolitical developments in Europe and the Mediterranean region often placed Malta in the midst of all activity. Ripple effects from battles fought on other shores soon reached Malta, sometimes vehemently, other times in the form of shiploads of wounded soldiers seeking respite and recovery from the pain of war.

The Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 morphed Malta into an island hospital. In the space of a year, Malta went from having four military hospitals to over 30 medical establishments. With over 136,000 wounded soldiers cared for, it’s no wonder the island earned the reputation of ‘Nurse of the Mediterranean’.

 

 

Maltese Healthcare today

Malta has the highest population density in Europe and has experienced significant population growth in recent years that also led to developments in health care provision. Current life expectancy stands at 79.6 years for men and 83.3 years for women, with expectations for increase. This, coupled with a low birth rate, means that Malta’s population is rapidly ageing. Chronic conditions associated with obesity, unhealthy lifestyles and age-associated frailty are the health sector’s major challenges.

The Ministry for Health is responsible for the provision of health services, regulations and standards, and the provision of occupational health and safety. The public health care system remains the key provider of health services, with a strong private sector complementing the provision of health services.

Recent years have seen a move towards the introduction of private-public partnerships within a number of hospitals and primary health care services. The Catholic Church, too, plays an important role in healthcare, specifically in the provision of nursing homes for older people, homes for people with a disability, and for those with mental disorders.

Several associations have been set up for health professional groups. These include the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses, the Medical Association of Malta, the Dental Association, the Chamber of Pharmacists, the Nursing Association of Malta, the Malta Association of Physiotherapists, the Malta College of Family Doctors and the Midwifery Association.

Public health strategies are built on projected population needs based on available epidemiological information. However, service planning is limited by available financing as well as human resources. To address the latter insufficiency, particularly in terms of nurse-availability, foreign recruitment is often undertaken.

A move towards decentralisation

Healthcare in Malta has been historically centralised, however this has started to recently change. In 2016, public-private partnership agreements were made between an international for-profit health care organization, Vitals Global Healthcare, and the Government of Malta. Through this agreement, responsibility for the management of three local hospitals, Gozo General Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital, and Karin Grech Hospital, was transferred to the private sector for a period of 30 years.

In addition, a number of primary health care services have been delegated to local councils, with a number of peripheral clinics operating from local councils. This measure was implemented to decrease the load and strain on hospital services. A discharge liaison service was introduced to improve integration of care across settings. Private primary care providers were looped in for the provision of follow-up care of a number of chronic conditions.

In January 2018, the largest private, for profit physician-led health care network in the United States, Steward Healthcare, bought the concession to operate the three hospitals. Steward Health Care operates 36 hospitals in the United States and Malta and employs around 40,000 health care professionals, with 12 million patient encounters per year.

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