Gozo patient “afforded timely and excellent medical care” – Inquiry
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Referring to the speech in Parliament on Wednesday by the Opposition Spokesperson for Gozo Chris Said, regarding the independent investigation into the death of a Gozitan heart patient, the Ministry of Health, in a statement, has published the conclusions and recommendations of this investigation, saying that it found “all procedures and best practices were followed in this case.”
The inquiry had been conducted by Professor Joe Cacciattolo and ordered by Minister Chris Fearne.
According to Nationalist MP Chris Said the Government was conducting a cover-up over the death of a patient at the Gozo General Hospital in August, who had passed away because the helicopter service run by Steward Healthcare “was not available” to take him to Mater Dei.
The Government said in considerations of ethics and the privacy of the patient in question, the report was not being published in full. “However Chris Said is being given the opportunity to see and scrutinise the full report in confidence, to satisfy himself,” it said.
The conclusions and recommendations are shown exactly and in full below:
“The late Mr xxxxxx was afforded timely and excellent medical care both while in Gozo and in Malta.
Medical care and treatment given was according to current established international guidelines and practices (European Society of Cardiology Guidelines for the Management of STEMI, 2017).
Protocols are in place to determine when patients need to be transferred from GGH to MDH.
Over the past years, before the air ambulance helicopter was available, the AFM helicopter was used to transfer patients between GGH and MDH. This arrangement is now only being used when the air ambulance helicopter is out of service for either planned or unplanned maintenance.
Protocols are in place on what needs to be done once it is determined that a patient needs to be transferred from GGH to MDH.
Arrangements are in place to ensure that the helicopter/air ambulance is always available in case a transfer of patient is required.
It is considered normal practice to make use of the Gozo Channel ferry for the transfer of patients if GGH medical staff considers it necessary.
The procedures followed were in line with established normal practice and protocols.
No difficulties were encountered during the transfer of the patient from GGH to MDH.
Patient was only transferred to MDH once the attending physician considered that it was safe to do so.
The air ambulance helicopter was available when a decision was taken that the patient needed transfer to MDH.
The air ambulance helicopter was out of service for scheduled maintenance from the 22 to the 24 August and it was put back in operation according to plan.
The backup plan of when the air ambulance helicopter was out of service was active at during the time the helicopter was out of service.
Protocols’ documents presented look very informal with no document management features, like reference numbers, who prepared the document, who approved the document, any revisions made, when the next review is due.
There is no formal and official agreement with the Gozo Channel ferry to give priority to transfer of patients; it is a traditional arrangement and understandably on a case-by-case basis.
The Board’s recommendations are as follows:
• Formalise the protocols’ documents.
• Formalise the agreement with the Gozo Channel Company Limited to give priority to transfer of patients.
• Have a set of Key Performance Indicators against what the service being offered to GGH for the transfer of patients can be measured.”