BUDGET 2021: Government to rent facilities for scheduled acute care and elective surgeries to continue without obstruction

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  • Government will launch Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis C
  • New psychiatric medicines will be added to the government formulary
  • Government will provide more beds for elderly care

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Malta’s healthcare system has had to adapt to deal with this particular situation. The pandemic impacted medical services offered, and also created the need for new services.

For this reason, the government created the Pandemic Reserve, which will provide more resources for the country to overcome the spread of the virus. In this context, financial resources are being allocated, including for the renting of additional facilities, so that in light of the restructuring that took place at Mater Dei Hospital due to the virus, scheduled acute care and elective surgeries can continue without disruption.

The government will purchase the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is made available on the market, thanks to an agreement with the EU Commission and with EU countries.

The government said that it anticipated the impact of the pandemic on other chronic illness and that it intends to continue offering free medicines and to introduce new medicinal products aimed especially at helping patients who suffer from chronic illness.

Treatment for osteoporosis will also be introduced, and through this measure the government will address the needs of patients, especially those who are vulnerable elderly patients, whose quality of life normally suffers due to this condition.

New psychiatric medicines will be added to the government formulary, which will complement the community mental care services and the investment government plans to make in a new acute psychiatric hospital near Mater Dei Hospital.

The government wants to invest in more holistic cancer care, given that a number of patients need to travel abroad for treatment or require specific oncology medication. For this reason, the government will open the Ċentru San Mikiel – a facility that will provide professional palliative care. This project will be made possible through partnership between the Government and Hospice Malta.

It also plans to expand the Survival Programme service that supports patients and their families overcome cancer.

In terms of Mater Dei Hospital, the government will update the hospital’s infrastructural network; extend the Remote Patient Monitoring programme to help more patients with chronic illness; introduce new Clinic management Systems and a Telemedicine Client Support Centre, which will facilitate communication between doctors and patients from their homes.

The government will, in 2021, launch the Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis C. It will also continue its educational campaign regarding sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as on the importance of regular testing.

In 2021, the government will continue to educate the public by running an educational programme focusing, mainly, on improving the health of employees at the workplace as well as a campaign on eating disorders and obesity in children and youths.

In terms of training, the government will invest in the training of healthcare employees while also incentivising medical specialists to train in prevention.

Elderly care

The budget also saw a number of proposals regarding elderly care being made. Among other things, the government will work on providing more beds for elderly care, both in public hospitals as well as through public-private partnerships or the purchasing of beds from the private sector.

The government’s main aim, however, remains for the elderly to live within the community and remain active. For this reason, the government intends to increase the number of Active Aging Day Centres as well as night shelters, a number of which will focus on special conditions for those suffering from dementia and for persons with disability.

Among the measures announced yesterday, the government will improve the Home Help and Telecare services. It will also extend the services provided in localities, such as the Silver T service and the phlebotomy service, and will also work giving new life to the KartaAnzjan.

In terms of standards, the government will not only be launching social regulatory standards for elderly care services, but will improve specialised learning on elderly care for persons who want to work in this sector.

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