Podiatry in Malta - A Brief History
Podiatry in Malta is still a relatively new profession. From the
start, the Department of Health decided to adopt the term Podology
in keeping up with the rest of Europe at that time except for the
United Kingdom where the term Chiropodist was than used. The Department
of Health – the main health-regulating body within the Government
of Malta - organised the first course in Podology. The School of
Medical Podology opened its doors to the first cohurt of students
on 20th December, 1982.The school was the brainchild of the late
Professor John Buontempo, who was one of the only two chiropodists
practicing on the island of Malta at that time.
As from the beginning, a high academic level was maintained during
the course of studies, with the Podology students often sitting
for the same lectures as medical students. Profs Buontempo retired,
and was replaced by a British chiropodist of South African descent,
Mr. M.M. Chetty, who had been sent over by the Commonwealth Secretariat
for the purpose of finishing the course.
During early 1985, the students had their first clinical practice
inside the Skin Outpatients clinic, at Boffa Hospital, where a Podology
Service was first provided to the public. However, it was in late
1985, under Mr Chetty’s directions, that the Podology Department
inside St. Luke's Hospital G'Mangia was initially set up.The first
available premises was a large room adjacent to the Dental Department
on the second floor of the Outpatients’ Block at St Luke’s
Hospital. The room was divided into four cubicles with a central
reception and a small staff room. The service offered inside this
department was very efficient and thus lead to a large turnout of
The first cohurt of nine students qualified in March 1986. These
were all employed by the Health Department and a second course started.
As from the start, Podology was a profession by Maltese law and
was represented by two podologists on the Board of Professions supplementary
Since the premises of the Podology Department were quite small to
cater for the growing number of patients using the service, a new
premises was made available. Because of Malta’s high incidence
of Diabetes, a Diabetes Foot Clinic was set up to cater for the
needs of the high risk patient.
In 1989, Mr Chetty’s contract expired and his place was taken
by a Maltese Podiatrist Mr Alfred Gatt in 1990, who was offered
the post of Principal Podologist. The Service expanded, and extended
to all Government Hospitals, including St Vincent de Paule Residence,
Boffa Hospital, Mt Carmel Hospital and Gozo General Hospital. Clinics
inside all major Health Centres were also set up. This move to the
community was so successful that in 1994 the whole department was
shifted over to the Primary Health Care Department.
In 1993 another Diploma course opened at the Institute of Health
Care, University Of Malta, followed by another two diploma course
in 1994 and 1995. By the year 2000, all the Health Centres in Malta
had available one Podology clinic, with some even having two. A
Rheumatology Foot Clinic was also set up at the Medical Out Patients
department. Since January 2002, a Podogeriatric team at St Vincent
de Paule Residence, started offering the service to all government
old peoples’ homes and day centres.
The main Podology Department is situated at the B’Kara Civic
Centre with Mr. Alfred Gatt as Manager of the Department and Mr.
Andrew Scicluna is Principal Podologist, but also manages the new
Podogeriatric Service. There are also five Assistant Principals
and a number of Senior Podologist in the Podology hierarchy.
Podiatry is today a growing profession and offers its service to
over 60,000 people annually. Nowadays the Department alone handles
over 60,000 cases annually. There are 34 podologists employed by
the Health Department and this service is also available in the
private sector all over the island.