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The Minister for Health has today announced changes at the GHA to enhance and improve cancer services in Gibraltar.

The GHA has introduced the new role of Clinical Director for cancer services. This new senior management role will oversee the GHA’s surgical, medical and diagnostic cancer services, and will be tasked with developing and integrating these services, and enhancing the GHA’s cancer care pathways.

Due to the broad scope and the significant responsibilities of the role, and the requirement to set up and champion the service at an operational and senior managerial level, the Minister for Health has approved the appointment of two senior clinicians to start the service for the first six months. The GHA has appointed Ms Catherine Spinou, Consultant ENT Surgeon who has extensive experience in cancer services management at NHS England, and Dr David Ballesteros Quintanilla, Consultant Oncologist who has been integral in the growth and delivery of the chemotherapy and oncology units; both have proven experience in the delivery of cancer care. A key role of theirs will be to communicate and lead at all levels of the organization as cancer care affects every aspect of health care from primary and community care, to specialised treatments and surgeries.

The GHA says it has been conscious of the long term consequences of COVID-19 on other diseases, particularly cancer and mindful of the needs of cancer patients in Gibraltar throughout the pandemic. Despite the hospital having raised its alert status to Black and now currently to Red, cancer services have not stopped, and they have continued to be available for patients throughout. Ms Christina Macano, Consultant General Surgeon and GHA lead on breast cancer, explains in a GHA awareness video how cancer patients are still being seen and offered all treatments required during COVID-19. (The video can be viewed here https://bit.ly/2LlPSU4)

Medical Director, Dr Krishna Rawal said: “This represents an enormous leap forward for cancer care in Gibraltar. We have excellent and dedicated clinicians in all specialties, but we need to coordinate the whole service and align them to deliver the best level of care possible for all those affected by cancer. I am delighted to welcome Catherine and David to my senior clinical Management Team, and I have no doubt they will take our cancer services to the highest level.

The Minister for Health, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said: “One of my priorities has been to focus on cancer services, as regrettably it is all too prevalent in Gibraltar. The introduction of a senior management clinical lead will better focus the coordination and development of the services in Gibraltar.

“The first task of the Clinical Director role will be to develop and deliver a national cancer registry and develop cancer policies and targets according to UK NICE guidelines. The GHA already has very good cancer services. With this enhanced and coordinated team, the GHA are driving towards world class cancer care. This programme is greatly welcomed especially during these pandemic times when people living with cancer and the GHA have had adapt to continue fighting this illness and strengthen Gibraltar’s Cancer Community”.

“I wish to once again remind the public that the GHA’s cancer services have not stopped. Symptoms should not be ignored and St Bernard’s Hospital continues to be open for all cancer patients.