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PathologyIf you have had a blood test, been treated for an infection or perhaps someone you know is being treated for cancer, you will have had contact with Pathology – even if you didn’t realise it.

A new Pathology Laboratory, part of the Pathology Service at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport, was opened yesterday (Tuesday) by Dr John Cortes MBE MP, Minister for Health and the Environment, HM Government of Gibraltar.   The opening co-incided with the visit of a delegation from Gibraltar which included the Gibraltar Health Authority’s Chief Executive Officer and Nurse Director.

Because a lot of pathology work is done behind the scenes, many people are unaware of its vital contribution to modern medicine.   Increasingly, pathologists are responsible for the care of patients, for example those with leukemia, anaemia or immune and metabolic disorders, difficult infections and cancer care.  Without the detective work of the Pathology Team investigating disease, there could be no firm answers, and improving or maintaining the quality of medical care would be impossible.

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Speaking at the opening Dr Cortes said:

“The pathology service is of huge importance in any community. It is one of the backbones of diagnosis and as such of ensuring good health and good treatment. Having high quality pathology services locally is vital in an island community, and this is just one of the similarities between Gibraltar and the Isle of Wight.  I congratulate the Isle of Wight NHS Trust on this refurbishment and modernisation and it is an honour and a pleasure to have been asked to officially declare the facilities open.”

On the Island over a 100 people work in pathology at the Trust and across England as a whole the figure is 25,000.   Across the country millions of pathology tests are performed annually, an average of 14 for every man, woman and child every year.  On the Island around 1 million tests are performed each year and as an Islander if you’ve ever had a blood test, urine tests or biopsy, the result will have been provided by the Island’s Pathology Department.  It is estimated that 70-80% of all health care decisions affecting diagnosis or treatment involve a pathology investigation.

The work undertaken has included:

  • Modernised and refurbished Microbiology Laboratory.
  • A replaced the ‘CL3 laboratory’ which is required to ensure the safe handling of samples potentially containing hazard organisms.  This laboratory needs to be at a constant negative pressure within a sealed environment which requires monitoring with the facility for an alarm should the seal be breached. A gowning lobby is required with an interlocked door before entry.
  • Created a shared improved office space for staff adjacent to the Microbiology Laboratory.

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