General practitioners should be first port of call - minister
The Maltese tended to seek specialist advice when suffering from pain or an ailment, rather than going to a general practicioner, Health Minister Joseph Cassar said this morning.
Addressing the press, the minister said the issue of primary health care was a major problem since GPs were specialised in looking at patients in a holistic manner and should be the first port of call.
Primary healthcare was being reformed and changes and improvements were taking place constantly.
The perception that only a few people used primary healthcare services, he said, was wrong.
Giving some statistics to prove his point, the minister said that between January and July this year 678,682 services were offered at the eight health centres and 42 clinics.
These included over 243,000 examinations by GPs in health centres, nearly 62,000 in clinics and nearly 10,000 home visits.
Primary Health Care Department CEO Edward Borg said that it was estimated that by the end of the year there would be 1.4 million services given at health centres and clinic.
He said that his department, together with Mater Dei Hospital, had set up a committee to work on synchronising services offered in both hospital and health centres.
People discharged from hospital, for example, did not need to go back to hospital for follow-up treatment but could be directed to health centres.
Another committee was looking into why certain patients were being referred to hospital and not health centres.