Medical simulation centre part of Gozo hospital project – Fearne

Energy minister pledges LNG power station will be running by next summer

Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne and Health minister Konrad Mizzi at Gvern li Jisma
Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne and Health minister Konrad Mizzi at Gvern li Jisma

Health parliamentary secretary Chris Fearne said that part of the rehabilitation of the Gozo general hospital would include a simulation centre where freshly graduated doctors and nurses could operate and practise their skills without putting patient health at risk.

“The centre will have operating theatres and wards like a normal hospital, and they will also be equipped with dummies costing some €250,000 each, which mimic human emotions and reactions like pain and bleeding among others,” Fearne said.

He added that the centre would allow doctors to practice on these dummies and avoid making small errors on real life patients.

The regeneration of the Gozo general hospital is part of a €200 million investment in the health sector to revamp three facilities; the Gozo general hospital, Karin Grech rehabilitation centre and St. Luke’s hospital.

Energy minister Konrad Mizzi pointed out that the investment would mean that Partners HealthCare International from Boston and Vitals Global Healthcare limited would enhance health care services on the island. He added that the Barts medical school in Gozo would continue to present post graduate educational opportunities

“The investment will bring an additional 1,000 job opportunities, but I would like to make it clear that employees will still qualify as government employees, enjoying the same conditions as before,” Mizzi said.

Fearne added that the government had managed to drop out of stock medications to zero and that it was looking forward to introducing diabetes medications on the government formulary in the next month.

“One of our next priorities is to add more cancer medications on the formulary list,” he said, acknowledging that cancer medications were constantly developing and that people were often prescribed new and expensive medications for their conditions.

Fearne also added that the government had secured a significant reduction in waiting lists at Mater Dei, including in dentistry, where the waiting list had been successfully dropped from two years to around six weeks.

“We have also managed to secure an agreement with private hospitals to carry out knee and hip replacements at no cost to the patients to further drop waiting lists,” Fearne added.

Discussing developments at Mater Dei, Fearne spoke about planned changes that would target better, and more tailored services such as an Emergency department specifically for children to make them feel more at ease, as well as re-training of all personnel at to ensure “service with a smile.”

Fearne also said the government was looking forward to opening up newly built wards to increase the hospital’s capacity, with 86 new beds being made available as from tomorrow.

“We are also actively discussing the issue of inadequate concrete at Mater Dei, and we pledge that we will be successful in this discussion,” he said adding however, that  increasing the hospital’s capacity would continue to be a priority.

Fearne further added that the government was also focusing on the primary health care sector following a perceived need to work more closely with general practitioners.

“We have just signed an agreement with the Medical Association of Malta, which will allow GPs to work even at health centres,” he said, adding that the health centres were also being better equipped through efficient IT systems to give GPs access to patient records on demand.

He added that health the country had over 50 health centres and that projects in infrastructure would continue throughout the year, as well as construction of new centres in various Maltese cities including Pieta and Gozo, amounting to a €30 million investment.

Energy minister pledges LNG power station will be running by next summer

Energy minister Konrad Mizzi said that the LNG power station was expected to be functional by next summer, and that the €450,000 investment would lead to an estimated 1.1 million tonne reduction of the Carbon Dioxide produced by power plants in Malta.

“This project is important not just because of the obvious cost of the investment but even due to the importance it places in health, “ he said, stressing that the drop in the Carbon footprint would ultimately lead to a drop in chronic respiratory diseases like Asthma and lung cancer among many others.

Mizzi further listed that the government had managed to secure € 80 million in savings due to cuts in electricity bills and that the planned power station was expected to make further cuts possible.

“We will also be renewing solar panel schemes and MEPA is also working on making solar farms possible, and in so doing make solar energy available for people who can’t install their own panels either because they lived in apartments,” he said adding that quarries and on factory rooftops had been identified as possible locations.