€1 million to outsource over 3,500 surgeries from Mater Dei

Recent tender shows Mater Dei Hospital wants to outsource 3,500 surgeries in a bid to cut down hospital waiting lists

Mater Dei Hospital is Malta’s main healthcare facility, providing the full range of medical services and accommodating 1,204 beds in all its departments.

But the hospital is often found wanting in terms of bed availability and certain medical procedures are hounded by lengthy waiting lists.

In a recent tender, the Health Ministry wants to outsource 3,500 surgeries, presumably to cut down the hospital waiting lists.

“The government of Malta is committed to provide uninterrupted healthcare services to the general public, particularly in maintaining highest efficiency in addressing waiting list for operations,” the ministry said in its call for tender.

The contract will be for service providers that can provide fully functional theatre facilities, together with the services of surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre nurses and any other human resources and medical supplies for major surgeries, pre- and post-operative assessment, overnight stays, patient meals and in-patient services.

Such services are estimated to cost around €2,700 for each major orthopaedic surgery, while overnight stays cost €150 per night.

In May 2023, a parliamentary question revealed a waiting list of 8,454 surgical operations in 11 medical specialisations: cardiac, dental, ENT, gynae, neurology and ophthalmic, orthopaedic, general surgery, paediatric, plastic and urology.

The longest list, at 3,582, is in orthopaedics followed by 2,949 in general surgery. The government regularly subcontracts outpatient services, cataract operations, or dentistry appointments.

The outsourcing helps the Mater Dei general hospital alleviate long waiting lists, especially due to the size of wards or clinics available.

The government meets the costs of these operations, provided for free to Maltese citizens, by footing the bill for private clinics.