Factors influencing the future of paediatric private practice in Malta
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AbstractIn Malta, the health system is hybrid, with similarities to both UK system and the US system, where the National Health Service is supplemented by private practice. This is widely performed either as a primary job or as a supplement to a government salary. This article reviews unfavourable secular trends in Maltese fertility, births, marriages, separations, single parenthood and loans incurred after marriage, and relates them to (equally unfavourable in terms of private practice) escalating numbers of paediatricians working in private practice. Overall, future prospects appear bleak for private practice in this branch of medicine, with a dwindling patient pool being shared by an ever-increasing number of paediatricians. The only identifiable factor that may mitigate is the potential for more private health insurance uptake. This must be coupled with a movement to improve the perception of a substantial proportion of the public that facilities are poorer in the private health sector than in the NHS service. Since Malta is a developed, EU country, these results may (cautiously) be extrapolated to other, larger developed countries.