Malta: health system review
AbstractMaltese life expectancy is 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 part of that remains higher than in many EU countries. The total number of doctors and GPs per capita is at the EU average, but the number of specialists remains relatively low; education and training are being further strengthened in order to retain more specialist skills in Malta. 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. The historical pattern of integrated financing and provision is shifting towards a more pluralist approach; people already often choose to visit private primary care providers, and in 2016 a new public-private partnership contract for three existing hospitals was agreed. Important priorities for the coming years include further strengthening of the primary and mental health sectors, as well as strengthening the health information system in order to support improved monitoring and evaluation. The priorities of Malta during its Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2017 include childhood obesity, and Structured Cooperation to enhance access to highly specialized and innovative services, medicines and technologies. Overall, the Maltese health system has made remarkable progress, with improvements in avoidable mortality and low levels of unmet need. 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; ensuring access to expensive new medicines whilst still making efficiency improvements; and addressing medium-term financial sustainability challenges from demographic ageing.
Azzopardi-Muscat, N; Buttigieg, S; Calleja, N and Merkur, S, World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe & European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. (2017). Malta: health system review. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/330212
Health Systems in Transition; vol. 19, n. 1
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