The Malta Cancer Foundation was set up with the aim of improving the quality of life of cancer patients and their relatives. In practice we have set about achieving this rather vague aim by improving the quality of the service they receive in Malta’s only Oncology centre which is at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital. I say service rather than treatment because from the start we have appreciated that there’s much more to the care of cancer patients –and any sick individual for that matter – than just the actual medical treatment.
We have funded air conditioning of wards at a time when some felt this was inappropriate as it did not constitute medical care. We have embellished the gardens of Boffa Hospital for the enjoyment of our patients and their relatives and funded the upgrading and refurbishment of both in patient wards and the Oncology Day Ward. The facilities in the latter which was one of our latest projects are now a marked improvement on what was available before.
One of the first initiatives the Malta Cancer Foundation supported was a counselling service for our patients and their families. After several years this is still ongoing and we expanded it in the context of a multidisciplinary team involved with Palliative Care, though not exclusively for this purpose. There is now a daily service.
And yet the bedrock of our service to our patients must remain an effective, competent, efficient and humane form of medical care. For this we need expensive medical equipment and drugs in the setting of a modern, well functioning hospital.
The development of the Mater Dei project and the ever increasing costs of medical care have brought a tight squeeze on resources allocated to Boffa Hospital and the Malta Cancer Foundation has been indispensable to the introduction of new technology and the continuous upgrading of Oncology services. To do this we have relied entirely on the generosity of the public and a number of companies who have never failed us without this kind of support the Malta Cancer Foundation could not function.
With money raised from L-Istrina and financial help from IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) we have purchased and installed a CT Simulator. This is a state of the art sophisticated planning system enabling us to achieve high standard of radiotherapy treatment.
The partnership between the Health Department and the Malta Cancer Foundation will I’m sure make a crucial difference to the service we will be offering our patients.