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Government: GSD Confirm They Would Cut GHA Budget And Limit Pathology Capacity

A statement from the Government in reply to the GSD’s comments on the GHA’s Pathology department follows below:

The Government regrets the lack of understanding demonstrated by the GSD’s Joelle Ladislaus in the conclusions she draws from the Principal Auditor’s report regarding the GHA’s Pathology Department. Ms Ladislaus' comments completely contradict the very nature of what the GHA represents as it was the GHA who requested the audit into the pathology department in the first instance. 

The GHA has confirmed that in the financial year 2022/23, the Pathology Department conducted a total of 2,968,838 tests, a full breakdown of which is attached for reference. This £4.5 million expenditure for the same period was incurred on laboratory equipment to support this significant and growing workload. The breakdown of this £4.5 million expenditure relates to the Pathology Department budget and included all tests carried out in-house, consumables, reagents, maintenance contracts, courier fees as well as referrals to reference laboratories in both Spain and the UK. 

Current Pathology stocks are tightly controlled within the GHA’s Modulab system to ensure sufficient consumables are available for testing. 

Furthermore, the GHA is in the process of implementing a “state of the art” stock control system called Omnicell across most of its clinical and non-clinical areas. Omnicell has already been rolled-out in theatres with great success by controlling and managing stock levels in the most cost-effective way and ensuring stock is always available to support clinical activity. 

The sections of the Principal Auditor’sreport quoted by Ms Ladislausrelate to stock purchased and stored to support the GHA’s services and communities during COVID, particularly lateral flow tests and reagents. During the pandemic, Gibraltar was in a worldwide chase to acquire testing kit which has since been stored to be used as necessary. It is a good thing that not all of this kit was necessary and as a consequence some of it may be reaching its shelf life and is having to be placed outside of stores. 

The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo KC MP, said: “It’s regrettable that the GSD have again resorted to taking the Principal Auditor’s findings and drawing conclusions that are based exclusively on assumptions and not at all on facts. This spending relates to critical aspects of the GHA’s ability to diagnose and treat patients, often in life-saving terms. It is easy for Ms Ladislaus, with the benefits of hindsight and distance, to criticise overspend on COVID testing kits when these had to be procured at a time when they were a worldwide scarcity. 

“What the public should be asking when they read Ms Ladislaus’ comments is which of these vital GHA pathology services, which include routine blood testing, diagnosing cancers and monitoring key organ


functions, would the GSD have cut had they been elected into Government? Which diagnostic or treatment service would not be available or would have a much longer waiting time due to budget cuts and lack of equipment under a GSD Government? THAT is the reality of the CUTS that the GSD try to mask as cost-effectiveness.”