Looking for a doctor to diagnose certain symptoms you're experiencing? Need a medicine prescription? Do you require a medical certificate? Need to check your blood pressure? Your health should never be taken lightly and any irregular symptoms you may feel shouldn't be dismissed. Explore the number of general practitioners listed on Yellow and find the one nearest to your home. Finding a family doctor in Malta is not difficult, and you may find several available doctors in your locality.
Where can you find a family doctor?
Found in nearly every locality across Malta and Gozo, locating a family doctor is not a strenuous task. A general practitioner may either sit in his own private office, in a private medical clinic, or in a pharmacy. In most cases you don't need to book an appointment, as most places work on a first come first served basis. Waiting time varies a lot depending on the season, the time and day you go, and the number of doctors in the neighbourhood. In winter, where sickness is more prevalent and after office hours, you can expect to find a longer line of people waiting to be attended to.
Are house visits provided by family doctors?
Cannot visit a doctor's office due to a contagious illness or poor health? A number of general practitioners carry out home visits during their working hours, or after hours. However, you'd need to wait for a longer time to be attended to, and if the doctor gets caught up at the clinic, he may not be able to visit at all.
What services do general practitioners provide?
Feeling certain symptoms? Need to carry out some medical tests? Any medical issue which may arise, the general practitioner is your best solution. Here are the most common services offered by general practitioners:
- Medical diagnosis and treatments
- Medication prescriptions
- Vaccinations and immunisations
- Blood test prescriptions
- Health check-ups
- Blood pressure and blood sugar testing
- Issuing of medical certificates
- Test result analysis
A Government scheme in 2018 has also given the opportunity to family doctors to be trained in treating patients with mental conditions at home, in an endeavour to reduce patient admittance in Mt Carmel Hospital.
In addition, the family doctor may also refer you to hospital or to a medical specialist if he feels your condition needs specialised attention. Having a referral from a family doctor is beneficial as it will enable you to skip the waiting lines at the hospital and get attended to faster.
Bonus tip: Nowadays you can access all medical records, appointments, reports and lab results on 'myHealth'- an online healthcare system you can access through your e-ID.
What are the opening hours of general practitioners?
Opening hours vary from one family doctor to another. If they have their own private office, they may not open all week and opening times may differ. In some cases, family doctors provide their mobile number, so their patients can still contact them when the clinic is closed, and in emergency cases, may even make a house visit after working hours. Some may also open Saturdays and Sundays, so do check opening hours on Yellow. If your general practitioner isn't available, some private clinics stay open 24/7 for any emergency which may arise late at night or on a Sunday.
If your general practitioner attends a private clinic or pharmacy, do call beforehand to ensure whether the family doctor is visiting or not. They may attend different clinics and rotate pharmacies during the week.
How much would a visit to a family doctor cost?
There is no fixed pricing which doctors follow, and cost varies from one doctor to another. It generally depends on the services carried out; whether they're effecting a check-up, a treatment, a test, or giving a vaccination. The issuing of a medical certificate would come at an extra fee. Average cost of a visit would range between €10-20 for a normal check-up and medical certificate. Also keep in mind that cash payment is generally required.
House visits would generally be more expensive, as are after hour visits, and if you visit a doctor at a pharmacy or private clinic, you'd need to pay the pharmacy or clinic fee. Although private clinics are more expensive, they may be the only option available since some remain open 24/7. In addition, if you're covered by health insurance, you may be able to claim the cost.
General Practitioner vs Public Health Centre
Public health services are provided free of charge to Maltese and EU nationals in Malta and Gozo. So why visit a general practitioner, rather than a public health centre?
Pros of a general practitioner:
- You can easily find a family doctor near you, whereas there are only a few public health centres located in Malta and Gozo
- A general practitioner's office would be less busy and you'll be required to wait much less to be attended to
- The family doctor will know your medical history and will have all his clients' medical records and test results, thus providing more tailored medical attention
- You'll feel more comfortable seeing the same doctor each and every time
Cons of a general practitioner:
- If your family doctor has restricted opening hours and doesn't offer home visits, you may need to visit a private clinic or a public health centre if an emergency arises late at night or on a Sunday
- If your doctor attends a pharmacy or medical clinic, he may not be available every day and you still might need to see different doctors
If you really don't want to spend any money, a public health centre is the place to go. Being free of charge is its main advantage. You'll be required to commute to the nearest health centre, which may take a lot of time to get to, and you'll need to wait a long time for your turn. Although public health centres offer house visits, it may take ages until a doctor actually arrives.
On the other hand, if you can't find an open family doctor and visiting a public health centre is not an option, a private clinic which is open 24/7 is the way to go. It's quite an expensive option, but worth a visit if you have health insurance, as you can claim the money back.
What you need to know about medical certificates
When a doctor issues a medical certificate, you get 2 copies. Upon filling all the required details, you should send the original copy to the Department of Social Security, or take it to the nearest Social Security District Office up to 10 days after the first day of sickness. The certificate copy should be given to your employer. If you need to take more than 6 days of sick leave, the certificate must be renewed once a week, until you return back to work. If you take up to 3 days of illness, you don't need to send the medical certificate to the Social Security department, as the first 3 days are payable by the employer. Thus, you still need to present it to your employer if requested.
Need more specialised attention? Explore the range of paediatricians, gynaecologists, dermatologists, psychologists, occupational therapists and more medical specialists on Yellow.
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