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Staffing doubled at ICU following flu outbreak

The GHA has doubled the medical staffing at the Intensive Care Unit due to “testing times” caused by the influenza outbreak last year.

The outbreak shone a light on the need for further medical staff to cater for surges in patients.

The Intensive Care and Anaesthetics Department have appointed five new registrars and hospital grade doctors in a bid to deal with multiple emergencies more effectively.

The Unit has also seen an increase in nursing staff and arranged a ‘Clinical Placement Programme’ with a major teaching hospital in the north of England that enables locally trained nurses to gain experience of ICU care in a major centre and complete a Masters’ Degree in Intensive Care Nursing.

The first group of four locally trained nurses are nearing the end of their placements and will be returning in two months, bringing back new skills and insights to the unit.

In addition, the ICU nurses have received training in the latest emergency renal replacement therapy from external trainers. This service, previously carried out by external contractors, is now being delivered by GHA staff using the most up to date techniques.

“It is very pleasing to witness the enhancements of our Intensive Care Unit, a crucial department within our health services,” said the Minister for Health, Care and Justice Neil Costa.

“The unit experienced particularly testing times in December of last year, with a number of admissions requiring intensive care. The effective manner in which the ICU coped during the influenza outbreak is testimony of its continuous development and improvement, not least, given the bed resiliency at St Bernard’s Hospital during this period.”

Mr Costa added the appointments have been made to ensure employees have the right assets and resources to enable them to perform their clinical duties, using the latest methods in healthcare.
“It is also crucial that we continue in our efforts to repatriate as many services as possible, for the benefit of our community,” he said.

To ensure all GHA patients benefit from these improvements in critical care delivery, the matrons, have launched an outreach service, which will identify critically unwell patients on the wards as early as possible.

This will allow the medical and nursing teams to institute appropriate treatment to stabilise their condition.

“The ICU was placed under significant pressure with the Christmas influenza outbreak, but has never been better equipped to cope with these demands, and the increase in surgical services, than it is now,” said Intensive Care Unit Lead Consultant Dr Hamish Thomson.

“We are working hard to make sure that our ICU meets, and exceeds, UK standards and are planning further major improvements over the next 12 months.”

Patients who have required prolonged complex treatment on intensive care will now be followed up in the ICU follow up clinic, to ensure their recovery is progressing well after being discharged from hospital.

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