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National Highly Specialized Oversees Referrals Programme

Malta and the United Kingdom have been working closely for over 60 years in relation to health care services that are offered to Maltese Nationals that require treatment in the UK under the Malta-UK Bilateral Agreement. These ties where strengthened in 1975 when the Malta-UK Health Care Agreement was signed. Through this agreement Maltese patients are offered medical treatment in UK NHS hospitals just like any UK national registered with the NHS system.

The services offered through this programme are considered as an extension to the services being offered locally. Cases referred to UK require specialised equipment and highly specialised interventions which can be offered in a very few centres in UK. The local caring Consultants are in close contact with UK Consultants in order to ensure continuation of care once the patients return to Malta.

The number of patients requiring treatment in UK has been increasing over the years and Ministry for Energy and Health (MEH) is continuously exploring ways to expand the services offered to Maltese patients both locally and in UK.

The system works through an agreement whereby Malta is assigned a total of 180 quota numbers every year, which are then assigned to patients that are approved for treatment in UK. The quota numbers afford the possibility to Maltese patients to receive the treatment in the NHS hospitals free of charge. Since the number of patients exceed the quota numbers the Health Department is expected to pay for the services rendered to patients over and above the quota numbers. 

This agreement on the other hand gives access to health care services in Malta to UK nationals while they are in Malta.