10 new ventilators bring Steward’s coronavirus-related investment up to €6m

Beppe Galea

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Ten new units have brought the total number of ventilators in the Gozo General Hospital up to 25, as the total Covid-19 pandemic-related investment made by Steward Health Care Malta reaches €6 million.

The new units were sourced from General Electric and Philips, with the company using the supply chain resources of its US mother company.

Their acquisition comes while Malta is lifting its pandemic-related restrictions, but Steward Malta’s executive director Nadine Delicata stressed that one needed to be prepared for a potential increase in coronavirus cases in the coming months.

“Our vigilance needs to remain high, as we gradually resume normal hospital activities while ensuring we continue to screen and treat all patients for COVID-19 in a safe manner, in the interests of both staff and patients,” Delicata maintained.

New equipment, more supplies

Steward Malta’s direct Covid-19 related expenses included additional labour, supplies such as personal protective equipment and investment in infrastructure and plant to safeguard patients. It also acquired specialised equipment such as ventilators, monitors and oxygen concentrators, two specialised dialysis machines as well as the installation of a liquid oxygen reservoir at the Gozo Hospital.

The company also invested in the modifications of its facilities in Malta to accommodate changes in patient demand and workflow, including the repurposing of three wards in Karin Grech Hospital. A new 28-bed ward was completed with negative pressure and a minimum of 12 air changes per hour for the care of Covid-19 patients.

In Gozo, Steward provided for 145 beds for Covid-19 care, including 25 intensive care beds, in addition to a dedicated Covid-19 emergency department.

 “We have taken a systematic, proactive and comprehensive approach to balance the need of accommodating Covid-19 patients, while maintaining the level and quality of care for all the patients we serve,” Delicata maintained.

“Because we understand that hospitals need to continue to care for sick patients who do not suffer from Covid-19, and to keep our emergency rooms as free from Covid -19 as possible, over the past months we have instituted multiple protocols and policy changes to protect the patients we serve as well as our dedicated staff of health care professionals,” she added.