3. Providing health services effectively
The section on PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES EFFECTIVELY describes approaches for service delivery planning and patient pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases. It also considers efforts by countries to maintain other essential services during periods of excessive demand for health services.
3.1 Planning services
In light of the spread of the pandemic, health services have been significantly altered and reconfigured. In the primary care setting, as mentioned previously (see section 2.1) many private GPs have shifted towards using telemedicine and providing telephone consultations and they have been supported in their decisions by the professional council. Electronic prescriptions and electronic submission of sickness certification have supported these practices. Primary care within state health centres has reorganised to also carry out a medical triage assessment of possible cases of COVID-19 over the telephone. Where possible, suspected cases are swabbed if the medical condition permits, otherwise house visits take place with full PPEs. The acute hospital has duplicated its emergency room to cater for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 persons with the aim of decreasing contagion between patients. Temperature measurement of staff and patients entering all health facilities takes place rigorously in an attempt to identify those at potential risk.
Government of Malta. COVID-19 information page. (13/03/20). https://www.gov.mt/en/Government/DOI/Press%20Releases/Documents/ISSUE03_ENG_14032020.pdf
Government of Malta. COVID-19 information page. (14/03/20). https://www.gov.mt/en/Government/DOI/Press%20Releases/Documents/ISSUE03_ENG_14032020.pdf