Robots will soon start assisting doctors during surgical operations at Mater Dei Hospital, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Tuesday.

He said the technology would be introduced around next year with Malta being one of the few countries in the EU that would provide this state of the art technology.

Mr Fearne was speaking during a Cabinet meeting held at the national hospital, the opening segment of which was open to the press.

Giving an overview of the government’s plans for the healthcare sector, Mr Fearne said cutting edge blockchain technology would soon be introduced to the public health records system My Health.

Ten years, Mr Fearne said, was a long time in the life of a hospital, which was why the government planned to add another 300 beds over the next four years.

These would be housed in a new outpatients block, an acute mental hospital, and a new maternity ward.

Mater Dei had struggled with cooling during the summer months, which Me Fearne said was due to an air conditioning system that could not keep up.

The government would be investing in this field, he said.

Meanwhile, the island would be getting a number of new MRI machines.

Mr Fearne said the government was in the final stages of drafting a 2020-2030 national health strategy.

The main challenges facing the sector, the minister said, would be discussed with stakeholders at a national conference in the first week of December.