You can see a doctor at the public polyclinic (healthcare centres) in your area. The bigger clinics have a longer time-frame during which you are able to see a doctor so it is best to check. Patients are seen in order of arrival and you will need to show ID. You are generally also required to be a resident of the locality or hub of localities in order to be treated. Opening hours vary, but some are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doctors at public polyclinics also do house visits in emergency cases.
Access to the public hospital, Mater Dei, as well as use of local clinics, is free of charge for local residents. EU and EEA nationals are entitled to free healthcare as long as they have a European Health Insurance Card.
Waiting times can sometimes be long at the polyclinics so for minor ailments or routine appointments, it may be quicker to pay to see a private doctor. Private clinics tend to be more comfortable, waiting times are shorter and prices for a consultation are affordable. Ask your colleagues for recommendations. Many pharmacies also have resident doctors. Expect to be charged anything between €10 - €30. Some will come to your home for an additional fee.
In an emergency, don’t hesitate to dial 112 for an ambulance. Urgent cases can also go straight to the Mater Dei Emergency Department in Msida or, if you have private insurance, to the St. James hospital.
Generally, you can take 2 weeks of sick leave per year, but it varies depending on where you work. You’ll need to provide a medical certificate. After 2 weeks, you may be entitled to sickness benefit from social security.Do we need private medical insurance?
EU citizens are entitled to free public healthcare. Third Country Nationals who are working and paying national insurance may also be entitled to public health care. Find out more here.Can I drink the water in Malta?
The water in Malta is safe to drink from the tap but unless you’re a fan of a faintly chemical aftertaste, you’ll probably prefer bottled water - much of the supply comes from reverse osmosis (the extraction of drinking water from seawater). Most people sign up to have large 20l bottles of water delivered, which sit in a dispenser. There are several different companies that offer this service such as www.h2only.com or www.ecopure.com.mt. There is also the option to instal a domestic reverse osmosis which re-filters tap water to drinkable water. Malta’s natural aquifers are threatened with over-abstraction; you can help by cutting down on water usage as much as possible, especially during the summer.