SERENDIPITY means that something good happens by chance and although that isn’t quite true in this case, the arrival of an oxygen production plant at St Bernard’s Hospital comes pretty close.
It was recognised that with Brexit looming the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) would be well advised to try to become as self-sufficient as possible and not rely on medical supplies coming across the border from Spain.
In 2019 therefore it was decided to purchase an oxygen production plant rather than to rely on the existing liquid oxygen tanks (topped up from the depot in San Roque) and cylinder compressed oxygen (refilled at the depot in Jerez) and in the long term it would save money.
The GHA’s technical team travelled to Eastern Europe to see a particular plant being used successfully at a number of hospitals and it was decided to purchase this system which has now been fitted.
The new plant can produce more oxygen than St Bernard’s Hospital would normally need and can also be used to fill its oxygen cylinders just at a time when the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic might have caused havoc on the Rock.
Meanwhile at the Europa Point Hospital Nightingale Facility, oxygen is being provided through portable oxygen concentrators and compressed oxygen cylinders although soon, it will make use of a temporary liquid oxygen tank and fixed oxygen points.