Healthcare company pandemic-related investment totals Eur6m in 2020
20 July 2020: As Steward Health Care Malta continues to monitor the national and global COVID-19 developments, the health care company has increased the number of ventilators in the Gozo General Hospital from the previous 15 to an unprecedented 25 units.
Steward Malta has sourced its high-end ventilators from General Electric and Philips thanks to the supply chain resources that its US mother company and its international health system can access. Such ventilators are part of a Eur6 million investment programme that Steward embarked on in 2020 to face the COVID-19 pandemic successfully.
Dr Nadine Delicata, Executive Director and President of Steward Health Care Malta said that while restrictions in the community are being lifted, Steward’s hospitals, in line with guidance from the health authorities, need to continue in their efforts to be prepared for a potential increase in coronavirus cases in the coming months.
“Our vigilance needs to remain high, as we gradually resume normal hospital activities while ensuring we continue to screen and treat all patients for COVID-19 in a safe manner, in the interests of both staff and patients,” said Dr Delicata.
As part of a large international health care system, with more than 7,000 beds under Steward management worldwide, Steward Malta has access to best practice support on crisis management, treatment strategies, isolation and containment techniques, and optimal use of PPEs.
Direct COVID-19 related expenses incurred by Steward Malta included additional labour, supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment, and investment in infrastructure and plant to safeguard patients. Critical purchases included specialised equipment such as the aforementioned ventilators, monitors and oxygen concentrators, two specialised dialysis machines as well as the installation of a liquid oxygen reservoir at the Gozo Hospital.
Moreover, Steward Malta invested in the modifications of its facilities in Gozo and Malta to accommodate changes in patient demand and workflow as a result of COVID-19. This included the re-purposing of three wards in Karin Grech Hospital. A new additional 28-bed ward was completed with negative pressure and a minimum of 12 air changes per hour for care of COVID-19 positive patients.
In terms of the Gozo General Hospital, Steward provided for 145 beds for COVID-19 care, out of which 25 were intensive care beds, as well as a dedicated COVID-19 Emergency Department. All these areas were fitted with negative pressure systems to ensure safety of both patients and staff.
“We have taken a systematic, proactive and comprehensive approach to balance the need of accommodating COVID-19 patients, while maintaining the level and quality of care for all the patients we serve,” said Dr Delicata.
“Because we understand that hospitals need to continue to care for sick patients who do not suffer from COVID-19, and to keep our emergency rooms as free from COVID-19 as possible, over the past months we have instituted multiple protocols and policy changes to protect the patients we serve as well as our dedicated staff of health care professionals,” she added.
“Both the US and the international leadership are in daily contact with the leadership team here in Malta, and we are grateful for the opportunity to learn from best practices across the Steward family. It is thanks to this support, and to the full cooperation of our dedicated staff, that we ensured that both our hospitals were adequately prepared in the shortest time possible. This collaboration was key to our collective ability to safely care for all patients during this time,” said Dr Delicata.
The suite of ventilators purchased by Steward Health Care Malta as part of its ongoing investments in the hospitals in Gozo and Malta