HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION IN MALTA

The foundation of M.A.O.T. began with its first official meeting, which was held on the 20th of February 1985 at the then Nursing School (now Institute of Health Care) at St. Luke’s Hospital, G’Mangia. The aim of the Association is to promote the development of the profession and to establish and maintain professional ethics. In this initial year, the constitution acceptable to the W.F.O.T. was drawn up. Certain criteria were also required to be an affiliation to the W.F.O.T. These included having 4 professionally qualified Occupational Therapists and also Maltese citizens. The Association decided that not less than 4 meetings would be held per year.

From its initial stages, the Association worked on the OT Course Recognition, an official uniform as well as regular contacts with officials re: the shifting of the OT course to University. In January 1986, the Association held its first Annual General Meeting with 21 members. This consisted of 4 qualified OT’s as members whilst the rest were made up of OT students and OT technical Staff. Since its formation to date, every Annual General Meeting has always been followed up by a press release in the local papers. It was also during this year that the OT emblem was adopted for use on the badge of the OT uniforms.

M.A.O.T. was accepted as an associate member of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists in 1988 with full membership for M.A.O.T. in W.F.O.T. and recognition of the School of Occupational Therapy (Malta) within 6 years in 1994. In July 1994, the M.A.O.T. was also accepted as an Associate member of C.O.T.E.C., which is the Council for Occupational Therapists of the European Countries.

Other significant dates in the history of the Association include the an OT representative from M.A.O.T. nominated to the Council for the professionals Complementary to Medicine (C.P.S.M.) in 1989 and the publication of regular annual articles in the W.F.O.T. Bulletin as early as 1989.

The beginnings of Occupational Therapy (OT) started in a crude form in as early as the 1840’s when prescribed activities began being included in the patient’s programme of treatment. These activities began in the field of psychiatry when Dr. Thomas Chetcuti, regarded as the founder of psychiatry in Malta, followed European trends and released mental patients from their restraints and used occupational activities such as domestic work, agricultural work and gardening to retrain patients and channel physical and mental energy.

As early as 1932, there were requests for therapists to work locally but it was only when an actual decision in 1955 was taken to keep abreast of modern medicine that the profession was introduced to Malta. Foreign OT’s were recruited in 1956 and thus the profession was finally organised by qualified staff. However, during the 50’s and 60’s, there was a lack of continuity in treatments and run by a small and irregular number of expatriates or part-time OT’s married to British servicemen based locally on the island. Two Maltese OT’s started employment in 1974 after travelling to UK for their training. In 1977, another call for 5 OT’s proved futile and the following year this was repeated resulting in five qualified
OT’s in 1982.

The first OT course to be run locally began in October 1984 with five successful students whilst a second course in November 1985 gave rise to seven qualified Occupational Therapists. The locally run courses initially began as a Diploma in Occupational Therapy under the Department of Health. This was then taken over by the University, i.e. Institute of Health Care and became known as a Diploma in Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy). In 1999, the first B. Sc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy began and the Diploma has since been phased out.

HISTORY OF THE PROFESSION
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