692 Maltese patients this year were referred by local professionals to visit various renowned specialist hospitals in England for medical treatment. The Malta Independent has learned that these 692 Maltese patients vary from new cases to follow-up appointments with their doctors.
During her official visit to London, President Coleiro Preca visited two hospitals specializing in cancerology; the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea and the University College Hospital.
At the Royal Marsden this year, six Maltese women were treated for cervical cancer and another nine for different types of cancer. Dr Alexandra Taylor, clinical oncology consultant specializing in gynecological cancer and her team have been treating Maltese women requiring brachytherapy for several years. This is a type of therapy where radioactive material is directly injected into the effective area.
Dr Taylor said the treatment is painless, has minimal side effects, and the success rate is 70% which is very good. She added that the patient will only spend a total of two days in the hospital and will be able to return home and be followed by Maltese gynecologists.
In this hospital, Maltese patients are also sent for other types of cancer care in various parts of the body. The hospital showed the president a brand new machine called a linear accelerator, which gives effective radiation therapy in less time. The maximum time a patient stays on this machine is two minutes. The cost of this machine is Â£1.8 million.
University College Hospital specializes in urology issues, such as prostate and bladder cancer and other diseases related to the lower body. This year around 40 Maltese patients received treatment for prostate cancer and at the moment a Maltese patient is there and has been visited by the President. He was shown a new piece of equipment called the Da Vinci Robot. This robot that costs Â£1.7 million, helps the surgeon to study the inside of a body in a non-intrusive way. This will help the patient lose less blood and recover faster.
At present, at University College, around ten Maltese medical professions are working or undergoing training. This editorial team learned that the majority of urologists in Mater Dei had received training from this hospital.
Rachel Busuttil Leaver, Urology Nurse, has worked at this hospital for 27 years. She said that due to the nature of her job she comes in contact with some of the Maltese patients who come for treatment. Even though she left Malta 30 years ago, she will definitely retire because Malta is her home.
Mary Rose Falzon is a breast and lung cancer pathologist. Dr Falzon has worked in this hospital since 1978. Dr Elaine Borg is another Maltese pathologist who joined Dr Falzon two years ago.
The President thanked the medical staff at both hospitals for their love and dedication to Maltese patients. She donated from the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation to these hospitals to continue their research in their respective fields.