The government plans to open specialised clinics to treat people suffering from long Covid and it will add a long list of medicines to the government formulary, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Wednesday.

He told a political activity in Siġġiewi that the clinics will be set up at Mater Dei Hospital, Gozo General Hospital and, once it opens its doors, at the Ċensu Moran Health Centre that is under construction in Paola.

Fearne said the government will be offering HPV medicines for boys from April 1 as well as more medicines for those who suffer from fibromyalgia. He said that if elected, continuous glucose monitors which are currently only being given to children, will be given to older diabetes type one patients. By next year this will be given to all patients, irrespective of the age.

Fearne also announced that within the first 100 days of a new government, licences would be issued to those who want to offer crematorium services.

In May 2019, the government introduced a new law to allow cremation on the island. Before that, Malta was the only EU member state without a law on burial practice. The new law will not only introduce a burial alternative but also allow people the flexibility to decide what to do with the ashes. Each crematorium will have a mortuary, a viewing room, adequate facilities for the extraction of implants from the body, a cremation room and a storage room for remains.

He said many people, even those who were not Labourites, were understanding Labour’s proposals and they also know that the party had a track record. “They know that we deliver,” he said.

Revealing other proposals, PL deputy leader Daniel Micallef said that gender reassignment surgery would be covered by the state as part of the health service. He also said that a new centre would be set up for the LGBTIQ+ community, offering all services under one roof.  

He said that while continuing to invest in palliative care, the government will start a discussion on voluntary euthanasia for those who are terminally ill. “I know it’s a sensitive subject. This is why we are proposing a discussion based on research,” Micallef said.

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