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GHA opens new sterilisation unit

The Gibraltar Health Authority opened a new Theatre Sterile Supply Unit (TSSU), after inadequate sterilisation of equipment caused around 75 surgeries to be cancelled annually.

Last year, Director General Professor Patrick Geoghegan speaking at a public meeting of the GHA Board, announced a £1m project to address this issue.

He described how the old unit was "outdated" and surgeries had been cancelled after doctors found sterilised equipment was unusable.

On Tuesday, the Minister for Health, Albert Isola, and Chair of the GHA Board, Professor Ian Cumming, unveiled the new unit.

In a press statement the GHA said the unit will play a vital role in patient safety and reducing hospital surgical infections.

The GHA estimates that 75 surgeries were cancelled on an annual basis due to defects or equipment failures within the existing unit in the current contamination process.

“The new state-of-the-art TSSU will improve the efficiency of the entire theatre complex and is expected to almost eliminate the cancellation of operations as a result of cross contamination,” the GHA said.

“The new Theatre (central) Sterile Supply Unit ‘TSSU’ will ensure that service users’ needs are exceeded through the timely delivery of sterile surgical instruments and other reusable medical devices, some of which are required at short notice.”

“This has been achieved with a substantive £1 million investment in the latest Steris sterilisation equipment such as Washing and Decontamination systems, Steam Sterilisers (Autoclaves), and chemical Sterilants.”

Sterilisation is a process, not a single event, and all components are carried out by trained professionals.

“The huge investment in our sterilisation unit will see a service revolution to further improve the quality and safety of health care delivery, which is part of our enhancing surgical services and prioritises the principles of duty of candor in our overall strategy,” Prof Geoghegan said.

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