The Board of Governors of the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF) has approved a social grant of up to €950,000 for the purpose of upgrading Mater Dei Hospital’s two catheterisation suites at its Cardiology Department.

The NDSF decided to award the grant for the upgrade in equipment after due consideration by the board was given to the considerable monetised social benefit derived from the investment in cardiac healthcare which by far outweighed the cost.

According to the National Statistics Office, in 2015, diseases of the circulatory system were the primary cause of death, accounting for 39 per cent of total deaths in Malta.

The grant will ensure that more than 3,000 cardiac patients annually will be treated more efficiently and effectively

The NDSF grant will ensure that more than 3,000 cardiac patients annually will be treated more efficiently and effectively since the upgrade will introduce new techniques and reduce time spent at hospital without the resultant complications from infection.

In particular, the upgrade of the current system, in use since 2008, will replace all dated hardware and software including the patient’s table. In addition to the 70 different procedures currently performed at the cardiac catheterisation suites, new procedures will now be introduced which will facilitate examination, reduce time spent in the suite and improve prognostic outcome.

The new equipment will increase workflow space in the theatre and reduce the likelihood of MRSA infections. Another major benefit is the significant reduction of approximately 50 per cent in radiation levels incurred during examination by both patients and the Catheterisation Suite medical team.

Moreover, the NDSF investment will allow patients currently referred for overseas treatment to be able to receive high level cardiac interventions such as mitral valve replacement at Mater Dei Hospital. This will not only reduce the cost of overseas treatment and the inconvenience to patients and their dependents, but also reduce significantly palliative care costs otherwise incurred by the hospital in additional bed day stays.

The upgrade has been adopted by more than 100 institutions worldwide since October 2016, 25 of which in Germany alone.

The National Development and Social Fund is a government agency established for the purpose of managing and administering 70 per cent of the contributions received from the Individual Investor Programme of Malta, set up by virtue of the Malta Citizenship Act Cap.188.

The offices of the NDSF are at 46, West Street, Valletta.