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GHA’s new fluoroscopy suite will enhance diagnosis for patients

Photos by Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Health Authority on Wednesday unveiled new equipment able to deliver real-time diagnostic imaging that will improve patient care and provide a service that until now was not available at St Bernard’s Hospital.

The new “fluoroscopy suite” was opened by the Minister for Health, Gemma Arias-Vasquez, in the presence of GHA Director General Kevin McGee.

Mr McGee said this was “a really important day for the GHA and for clinical services in the GHA”.

Fluoroscopy is a radiological method which gives a real time video image to evaluate specific areas of the body.

The new suite will speed-up the diagnostic process for service-users across the Rock.

“It does imaging that will allow us to take many sections across individuals and provide first-class diagnostic care through the population of Gibraltar," Mr McGee said.

"It's the start of many exciting new developments in terms of diagnostic kit and medical equipment within St Bernards.”

"This is state of the art equipment that's been provided."

"When you think about the traditional X-ray, it's very static and it just takes one picture. This machinery moves as it's taking pictures so it's almost like a video as opposed to a static picture."

"It gives you much clearer and crisper images so you can make diagnostics better as well as the assessment of patients."

"What we are able to do is make clearer recommendations in terms of patient care, patient treatment, we can get people seen quicker, so all in all it's a better patient experience."

Mr McGee told the Chronicle that clinicians within the GHA will also benefit from the new equipment at their disposal.

"But it also allows our clinicians to really make better judgements about the care and the treatment that's requires post the X-rays taking place."

He said the new suite was the start of a “long-term programme in terms of equipment replacement”.

The equipment was provided by Phillips, the company the GHA are in contract with.

"They provided the kit, the installation and also the training," he said.

"They provided training on the job, which is the important thing."

At the GHA, the fluoroscopy suite will be instrumental in several key procedures, including:

- Barium Swallow and Barium Enema: These procedures are vital for monitoring the digestive system, helping to diagnose conditions such as blockages, tumours, and other abnormalities within the gastrointestinal tract.

- Hysterosalpingograms: Used in gynaecological care, this procedure assesses the health of the female reproductive organs, particularly the uterus and fallopian tubes, and can aid with the diagnosis of fertility issues.

- Micturating Cystograms: In urological care, this test evaluates the bladder and urethra, and assists in overseeing urinary function and detecting any abnormalities.

The Minister for Health, Gemma Arias-Vasquez, said the introduction of the new suite was “rewarding”.

"It's great because we've been talking about money, we've been talking about the allocation of funds, this is the physical manifestation of exactly where those funds are going,” she said.

Ms Arias-Vasquez told the Chronicle that such initiatives form part of the Government’s plans to repatriate medical services to the Rock to improve patient comfort and manage costs.

"We want the best standards of care for patients, but we want the best standard of care in Gibraltar if that's possible," she said.

"We've always tried to repatriate as many services as possible to Gibraltar, and having this technology here means that patients won't have to go to Spain or to the UK."

"Rather than getting in a car and having to drive wherever it is in Spain, you can just come along to Europort and have a scan done here and then go back home in the evening."

"So that's very important in terms of patient comfort and patient care."

"You can get the results quite quickly here as well, and all this is very important to speed up diagnostics for Gibraltarian patients."

"Hopefully it means that we are managing costs since we have it here, so we have the equipment here," she added.

The Minister for Health underscored the importance of the unveiling.

"It's very important because we keep talking about the MES [Managed Equipment System] and the Phillips contract and what that is, and this is one of the first steps that we are taking within that contract."

"It's a huge contract, it's a huge investment that the GHA is making."

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