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Ministry of Health and Wellness Denies Misinformation of a shortage of Oxygen at Victoria

The Ministry of Health and Wellness notes the concerns of some media personnel and citizens as it relates to the medical gas (oxygen) situation at the Respiratory Hospital (Victoria Hospital). The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to categorically deny the misinformation of a shortage of medical gas (oxygen) at the Respiratory Hospital (Victoria Hospital).

The current medical gas system at the Respiratory Hospital, which existed before the move to the Owen King EU Hospital, was not designed for such a radical increase. Consequently, the system is currently being re-engineered to a semi-automated system to allow for immediate notification and response by the technical and clinical team. The semi-automated system will also be less labour intensive and time-consuming.

Notwithstanding the move to the semi-automated system, there has been a consistent and reliable supply of medical gas (oxygen) by the only local manufacturer, Windward Island Gases. The Ministry of Health thanks the supplier for their commitment in continuing to meet the demands of the hospital for medical gas (oxygen) and notes that the supplier has given their unequivocal commitment in this regard.

The Ministry of Health has also strengthened the internal processes at the Respiratory Hospital to ensure reliability, consistency and responsiveness.

1. Move to four (4) daily medical gas (oxygen) checks from one (1);

2. Increase in the human resource to provide a twenty-four (24) hour medical gas (oxygen) monitoring service;

3. Procurement of medical equipment (hi-flow machines, ventilators, oxygen concentrators and others)

4. Re-training of the current employees and ongoing training of new employees.

Over the last three (3) weeks, the Respiratory Hospital has recorded an exponential increase in the consumption of medical gas (oxygen). This is as a result of the number of patients and acuity of the patients admitted at the Hospital. The medical gas (oxygen) demand moved from fifty (50) cylinders daily to one hundred and twenty (120) cylinders. Over the last six days, commencing Friday, February 19, 2021, the hospital consumed eight hundred and fifty-six (856) cylinders of medical gas at a cost of one hundred and ninety-five dollars ($195.00) per cylinder.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness encourages all Saint Lucians to continue to practice the health protocols/guidelines that have been enacted as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

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