This Unit, within the Ministry of Health, is responsible for vetting and registering medically certified coeliacs under Schedule V and thereby receiving benefits in the form of vouchers to procure gluten free food from registered outlets throughout Malta and Gozo.
Once a person undergoes all the medical tests and is positively identified as suffering from Coeliac Disease, the gastroenterologist is in a position to prepare all the necessary documentation to enable the patient to present the documentation to POYC for vetting.
In those instances where the medical tests are carried out at Mater Dei Hospital, it is very important that one should not leave the Schedule V applications at the hospital. Although POYC state that such documentation is collected for processing on a daily basis, one also has to bear in mind that this does delay the process.
POYC run a One Stop Shop Concept at their office at St. Luke’s Hospital, Gwardamangia; the office is open to the public from Monday to Friday between 08.00hrs – 13.00hrs.
If a coeliac presents all the valid and correct documentation, POYC affirm that it should not take more than 30 minutes to process an application (or renewal); once all verification is completed, the coeliac is registered with POYC under Schedule V and the respective card is issued and usually sent by mail to the applicant that same week.
It is important to note that all new Schedule V Cards:
- are issued with a Validity Date and that the Consultant establishes the Validity Date and its purpose is to remind the patients when they need to go for their next Consultant visit.
- remain valid for only 5 years but if the Consultant specifies an indefinite period, then the Schedule V Card is issued for 10 years.
It is also very important to keep the Schedule V card in a safe place, to make a note of the expiry date and to make an appointment with the consultant well ahead of the expiry date; otherwise, benefits may be curtailed until the Schedule V card is renewed.