PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR HEALTH AND VITALS GLOBAL HEALTHCARE: Vitals Global Healthcare in joint venture with Medical Centre O&P to deliver high level Orthotic and Prosthetic Services to the Maltese community

VGH has partnered up with MCOP, the contracting provider for Walter Reed Military Hospital in the USA, to provide top quality prosthetic and orthotic services in Malta.

Medical Center O&P is a leading prosthetic company, serving amputees who seek to maximize their potential and minimize the complications associated with wearing a prosthesis . Although best- known for their work providing lower limb prosthetics to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the company also provides services and care to civilian amputees across the USA.

The current service in Malta till now has been run by a single local prosthetist, together with a group of technicians and Allied Health professionals, and is supported through a contracted third party which provides artificial limbs. A foreign prosthetist from the group comes over every six weeks for a two-week period to assess new patients, supply limbs, and review problems, explained CEO of Karin Grech Hospital Dr Stephen Zammit. Patients have to wait for these visits to have their needs addressed, and four weeks can be a very long time for someone needing adjustments to a limb. Additionally, the quality of limbs currently stocked by the supplier are of a basic standard which is not where we would like them to be, added Dr Zammit.

MCOP is a worldwide-recognised company known for the quality of services provided. Not only will Maltese amputee patients receive much better devices, but they will also have continuous and undisrupted care. Our plan is to develop an individual care plan for each and every patient where we will assess the local amputee community in its entirety, and replace all devices that are below standard. This will be at not added cost to the patient, i.e. the service will remain free of charge, explained Head of Operations of MCOP Ian Fothergill.

Patients will gain by having a continuous six day service week in week out, and complaints seen within 48 hours. Staffing will be increased, with more professionals being available to take care of our patients.

MCOP will also provide necessary training to local staff, to further develop the skillset of local workers in the department. Devices will now be produced in Malta, also saving time in production and shipping from abroad. Significant investment will be made to the workshop and patient areas, which at the moment are completely substandard, in order to create an environment suitable to work and receive care, added Dr Zammit.

During a meeting with VGH and MCOP, Minister for Health Chris Fearne expressed his satisfaction for this joint venture. This is a tangible improvement to the service that ensures better care to all amputees needing prosthetics and orthotics. The department this government inherited in 2013 was in a total state of abandonment, not suitable to serve the Maltese community. This agreement ensures an all-round better service, complimentary to our other efforts at improving the overall health service across the Maltese Islands. Maltese amputees will start to receive a much better service, provided by one of the most prestigious names in the sector, said Minister Fearne.

In the following months, all amputees in Malta and Gozo will be assessed, and provided with a care plan to suit their individual needs. This will ensure a smooth transition for patients, with devices supplied from the current supplier and MCOP.

Source: Government of Malta