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Private clinic vs Mater Dei

[ 1 ] 12/07/2013 |

public hospitalMost of my friends who had already given birth in Malta, mainly Maltese, were telling me that going to a private clinic for the monthly pregnancy check-ups and then give birth at Mater Dei is the best thing to do. That they take better care of you in the private clinics but the public hospital is better equipped for giving birth. So this is what I decided to do. At least in the beginning.

I went to a private clinic three times in total. The obstetrician did ultrasounds in every visit and checked the fetus. What she didn’t do though was to take my medical history (!) and check whether I, the mum, am OK and healthy. On top of that, I wrongly assumed that because I was visiting a private doctor and paying around 100 Euro per visit, this would be MY doctor, who remembers me and my case, whom I can call on her mobile in case of need and who is committed to be with me when I give birth.

Well, my assumption was wrong. After three visits she still didn’t even remember our faces, she told me that if I need anything I cannot contact her directly but I should call the clinic and they would contact her, and if something goes wrong and I have to be submitted at Mater Dei to give birth (Mater Dei is better equipped for cases of emergency) she won’t be able to be there with me.

After the first 3 months of my pregnancy, when we arrived to the point were I was supposed to have the blood tests, I was told by my doctor that in any case I should go to Mater Dei, because of what I mentioned earlier. IF something goes wrong and I have to be admitted there, they need to have their own medical records about me. Plus, she told me from day number one that the treatment at Mater Dei during pregnancy is equally good as going private.

When I went to Mater Dei for the first time, it is true that I had to wait for hours in different queues which was annoying and exhausting since I was suffering from fatigue. It was my first time there so they had to open a file on my behalf, check everything from scratch and so on. Compared to the private clinic, they did check everything! They even asked questions about the medical history of the father and the grand parents from both sides. When I explained that I was diagnosed with Vesicoureteral reflux when I was around 2 years old (an abnormal movement of urine from the bladder into ureters or kidneys. Urine normally travels from the kidneys via the ureters to the bladder. In Vesicoureteral reflux the direction of urine flow is reversed) but that I had been cured with an alternative treatment when I was 4 that involved no surgery, and almost no damage was done to my kidneys (just 4% damage in one of them), the doctor to whom I was assigned to prescribed me extra examinations cause the kidneys over function during pregnancy. He wanted to make sure that both baby and mum would be fine and that everything is gonna be OK with my kidneys. He also prescribed a 4D ultrasound for the baby on the 7th month of my pregnancy, cause this reflux can be hereditary (doctors still don’t know for sure).

After that, as you can understand, I decided to continue at Mater Dei. In there, there is a whole team of midwives and doctors looking at my case -and any pregnancy case-, they have all the equipment needed, and they do check everything! What they don’t do are ultrasounds every month unless necessary -and in fact it might be harmful to overdo it with ultrasounds-, they don’t print pictures from the ultrasounds, you need to wait before you see the doctor anything in between 1-3h. If everything develops well with a mum’s pregnancy, she can have her monthly check-ups at the nearby health center and the waiting time there is usually very short. It didn’t take me more than 30′. What is also not an option is to give birth in water (that you can only do privately) and have your own private room room when you recover after giving birth. You get to share the room with another mum and her newborn; the delivery room is private. What you do get on the other hand is lots of help with breastfeeding and everything and a midwife will visit you at home the day after you leave the hospital, and two more times. You can go at Mater Dei to the Breastfeeding walk-in clinic at any case after giving birth and ask any kind of questions related to breastfeeding and the baby in general.

*Please note that this is my personal story, describing the experience I had with 1 private doctor operating at a private clinic, and the experience I had at the public hospital. This is what happened to me and why I decided to have my pregnancy monitored at the public hospital and give birth at Mater Dei instead of going private. Other friends have been super happy going privately and highly recommend it. I’ve heard superb feedback for St. James Zabbar. 

Category: Resources for Malta Mums

Comments (1)

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  1. kelly says:

    I just visited a local private GP for my prenatal care, she checked me and the baby over and charged me €15 a time (she also didn’t have a clue who I was until I was about 8 months pregnant and was seeing her every week! Its just how it is here. Once I turned up heavily pregnant and she asked if I was there for a pregnancy test!!). At the time, my local health centre in Mosta was closed so it was the easiest solution. I was happy with the care I received from her but freaked out a bit when at my Parent Craft classes we got asked who our Gynecologist was….Gyne, I should have a gyne?? But like Liza says, I would have been paying a fortune for a gynecologist to do the same a my local private GP.
    I did pay for 2 private scans, €40 each but they were more for me than checking as I did have one at Mater Dei but never got a picture.
    I made the manic visits to Mater Dei for the standard visits and it was chaos every time. Get there early to beat the queues, like 07:30!
    In my last month I was supposed to go back to Mater Dei for my check ups but my Consultant was more than happy to let me continue seeing my GP as its a bit of a trek from mine to MD in rush hour. However, I had no complications in my pregnancy.

    It was frustrating that every time I visited MD I had to go up to billing and produce my E111 card (better than paying I suppose!) but on D Day, I just breezed straight onto the Labour Ward!

    I was given a Consultant on my first visit to MD, and even booked in for my induction when he was going to be on shift, but I saw him once I think on my second visit! I thought it was comical when I went for my initial appointment with my second baby and they asked me who I wanted my consultant to be! Like I’m ever going to see him!

    MD has great facilities and for me was a pleasant (as much as it can be I suppose!) experience giving birth there. Mother’s are given recovery time as well, there’s no kicking them out several hours later to free up a bed. I was in for 2 days after delivery. On the first day, the midwives did everything for me, bought my son to me to be fed, put him back to bed, changed him, help me latch him on….they were great. On the second I was left to get on with it a bit more but they were still on stand by.

    I was a bit confused about the after care….I did go to the Breast feeding clinic which they check on your baby’s weight after the first week, but the midwife visits were a bit random. The first midwife was really nice and checked every thing for myself and my son and gave me some good tips….the second was a bit harsh and the third was a nun who ask if “everything is ok down there….” meaning my stitches….
    I’d read that you’re meant to have a 6 week post natal check (& it also say Post Natal Exam on the back of your blue card) up but didn’t know who or where to go for this so eventually went back to my local private GP who charged me €30 I think to check everything had gone back to normal and she also did a smear test for me.

    You also get an appointment for the Well Baby clinic for your child where they check development and growth…this should be at your local health centre.
    We were advised to get a Pediatrician, but so far have just gone back to the Local Private GP, or have gone to child clinic session that you get at the pharmacy doctors clinics…
    Jabs we’re having done through the health centre, which is free but will probably pay for the extra ones they don’t provide just to be safe.

    It can be confusing, especially if you’re used to every thing being done in one place, where they keep records of you! But the infrastructure is there, you just may need to hunt to find it!

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