Dr Francis Heyes – A&E Consultant, Elaine Ferro – Sister at A&E, Dr Albrecht Kussner - Associate Specialist for A&E, Minister Costa

A state-of-the-art blood gas machine has been installed at the A&E Department of St Bernard’s Hospital, the Gibraltar Health Authority has confirmed. This is a diagnostic piece of equipment, the size of a desktop photocopier, capable of testing a small amount of freshly taken blood from an artery within minutes.

The analyser measures the levels of certain gases and compounds dissolved in the patient’s blood stream and gives valuable, instant test results, to the doctors and nurses.

A diagnostic sampling tool such as this, used at the point of clinical assessment in A&E, enables the medical and nursing staff to make a rapid analysis of a patient’s condition and directly administer treatment especially to those who are critically ill. The staff has welcomed this initiative, noting that from a clinical perspective, this point of care testing will yield a number of benefits to the sickest patients. This will include improved turnaround times in A&E and a reduction in time to implement a plan of treatment to patients.

Associate Specialist for A&E, Dr Albrecht Kussner said: “We make good use of the blood gas machine on a daily basis. Literally within hours of commissioning, the analyser was used to guide treatment of a patient in cardiac arrest, who was stabilised and transferred to ITU. Undoubtedly, near-patient testing of the range of critical parameters this machine provides expedites decision making and spells an invaluable asset to our Emergency Department.

Sister, Elaine Ferro commented that: “the addition of the blood gas analyser to the Department has hugely facilitated our work. The rapidity with which we are able to access results proves invaluable to the critically ill, as we are able to titrate their treatment as required in a timely manner. The close proximity of this resource to the bedside, allows us to focus our efforts on providing essential nursing care, ensuring our patient’s experience with us is as comfortable as it can be. I can confirm all staff have received training on its use and maintenance.

Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F Costa MP said: “I am extremely pleased at the introduction of this sophisticated piece of equipment, which follows on from the upgrade of front-line medical facilities at the Accident and Emergency Department. The Government will continue to improve the delivery of medical services at the GHA for the benefit of our patients. We will also continue to review the overall material needs of the hospital and, where necessary, purchase the life-saving equipment, which our excellent medical profession can put to good use. Whilst we continue to make good progress in all areas of our health service, I am conscious of the need to al- ways do much more. In this, I know I have the full support and enthusiasm of an excellent team at the GHA.”