‘Added stress’ for cancer patients sent to MCCF for funding – Puttinu Cares

Malta’s public healthcare system directs cancer patients to charities such as the Malta Community Chest Fund for healthcare funding when conventional treatments do not work, causing an “added stress” for patients who have to seek funding for their treatment, according to cancer support group Puttinu Cares CEO Rennie Zerafa and President Angele Cuschieri.

Zerafa and Cuschieri described how the national healthcare system initially offers conventional healthcare to patients at no cost. However, if this does not prove effective, “a letter is then given so that patients themselves go and look for funding from the MCCF,” for research-based treatments which can cost thousands of euros per month per patient.

“We are speaking about millions of euros to fund such treatment every year which, in turn, has put the Malta Community Chest Fund in a difficult situation,” they said.

The Shift reported last week how pharmacists across this island raised concerns about their ability to continue supplying patients with expensive chemotherapy medication as the MCCF, has fallen months and millions of euro behind on payments due to a shortage of funding.

It is understood that following talks the government will now be forking out €6.5 million to cover the MCCFs debts for chemotherapy medication which the national health care system did not fund itself. Pharmacists who spoke to The Shift on condition of anonymity called the roundabout system of funding “a farce”.

Zerafa and Cuschieri maintained that “access to cancer treatment should be equitable and that no patient should face financial hardship when seeking necessary medical care.”

They said, “The focus should never be about the financial burden but on the patients themselves and on how we as professionals can play a pivotal role to provide them with comfort and dignity in such a delicate situation.”

They described how the current system forces uncomfortable uncertainties upon patients such as whether they would be able to access the necessary funds and whether a financial burden would be placed on their families, saying “These are disturbing questions which trouble the patient’s mind placing extra burden, extra pressure and extra stress,” which “can negatively impact the patient’s overall well-being”.

The pharmacists that spoke to The Shift said that in this way, the government was refraining from directly funding vital medication. “Allocating funds to people’s health and treatments should come above some road or infrastructural project,” one pharmacist concluded.

Maltese cancer patients who prove unresponsive to conventional treatments and need chemotherapy medication are eligible for sponsorship by the MCCF.

The patients receive an authorisation from the MCCF, which they present at a pharmacy of their choice, procuring the medicine at no cost. The pharmacy then invoices the MCCF for the amount due, which has now collectively ballooned into millions in debt.

Questions sent to Health Minister Chris Fearne asking about both the MCCF’s shortage of funds and for comments on the current funding system have remained unanswered.

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1 month ago

This is a true shame. Have we become so bent on progress and profit margins that we have forgotten what is truly most important? The one thing that most people pray and wish for is health and wellness. Take care of our people and our country will thrive or so too will the opposite be true. This saddens me.

1 month ago

Are the MCCF audited books in the public domain?
Has this foundation become an employer wasting away the funds provided for helping Cancer Patients? Is MCCF instead using the funds for other motives besides helping cancer patients?
Do we have a right know?
Is MCCF a registered NGO , or not so that it has no obligations according to law?

Last edited 1 month ago by makjavel
1 month ago
Reply to  makjavel


It seems like they’re audited accounts are public on their website.

Also registered with the MFSA as a Foundation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anon
Toni Borg
Toni Borg
1 month ago

why don’t they send them to the Marigold Foundation!!! or are those funds for the exclusive use of Michelle’s cosmetic surgeries????

1 month ago

Imma €450miljun ghall-frodisti tal-Vitals u €200miljun ghall-Airmalta li fallew ghandhom bla problemi!

…jaqq kif ma jisthux jisirqu lill-marid u jibaghtu lill-pazjenti jitkarrbu?

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