The Minister for Health, Care and Justice, Neil F. Costa MP officially inaugurated the new ‘Mark Dellipiani Palliative Care Unit’ at St Bernard’s Hospital, together with the family of the late Major Dellipiani and in the presence of the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia MP.
The expansion and relocation of the Unit, now based on the second floor at St Bernard’s Hospital, follows the Government's recent agreement with Cancer Relief Gibraltar for the provision of additional hospice care at home and palliative care support for terminally ill cancer patients.
Since Mark lost his battle to cancer in 2017, members of his family have met with the Health Minister and GHA officials, forming a constructive relationship, whereby they have offered their experiences with the GHA during Mark’s illness. Mark’s sister, Ms Gillaine Dellipiani has represented his family during the collaboration, whilst also engaging with other patients, with the aim of highlighting areas for improvement and development within the GHA.
In recognition of the appreciation of the GHA of Ms Dellipiani’s efforts to collaborate with the GHA, and, to honour the life of Mark, the GHA decided it would be fitting to name the expanded palliative care unit after him. Following the inauguration, Director of Nursing Services, Ms Sandie Gracia said: “I am glad we will now enhance a co-ordinated holistic approach to cater to individual patient care needs that will support patients both in the community as well as in a hospital setting.”
The GHA’s Medical Director, Dr Daniel Cassaglia commented “I am extremely proud that the GHA has the opportunity to honour Major Mark Dellipiani in this way. We are very grateful for the contribution Mark and his family have made to improvements in care at the GHA which will undoubtedly benefit many other patients. Mark’s role in advocating for the expansion of palliative care services will be long remembered.”
Minister Costa added: “The feedback that Mark’s family have expressed of their experiences with the GHA, as well as those of other members of our community, provides a valuable personal and intimate perspective of our services. Mark’s experiences of the GHA, as well as those of his family, have formed the basis of various improvements and reforms throughout our health services. I wish to sincerely thank Ms Dellipiani and Mark’s family for engaging my Ministry and different GHA teams and sharing their experiences through such difficult times. As I never tire of saying, the GHA ￼belongs to all of us and must serve our community with excellence, compassion and safety. It is a real pleasure to officially inaugurate the new Palliative Care Unit in memory of their dearly loved, and my friend, Mark.”
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said that it was a genuine privilege to be present for the opening of the unit in honour of Mark’s memory both as a member of the Government and as a family friend.