Since opening its doors for the first patients in July 2008, the Decompression Chamber at the Gozo General Hospital has provided a sterling, but necessary service to a number of Gozitan patients and it has also been instrumental in providing treatment to a number of divers who experienced difficulties during dives around Gozo. Were it not for the existence of this chamber these divers could have experienced serious negative health repercussions and even death.
The installation of the Decompression Chamber at the Gozo General Hospital was an initiative of the Ministry for Gozo co-financed by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund under the Structural Funds Programme for Malta 2004-2006. The aim of this project was to offer a safe destination to divers who choose Gozo to practice their favourite sport. This project was supported by the operators in this sector as well as by the Gozo Tourism Association.
The unit was fully operational during the summer months providing treatment to twelve emergency cases related to diving in addition to the provision of daily treatment to in-patients at the hospital.
Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono paid a visit to the unit to thank the medical, nursing and technical staff for their work and commitment which contributed towards the efficient and professional functioning of the Unit. She said that this kind of treatment was new to Gozo and the staff’s dedication has contributed to the overcoming of initial difficulties and today the unit is providing a regular service.
Minister Debono was then shown a number of letters sent by foreign divers expressing thanks and appreciation for the professional treatment they received at this unit. These divers were thankful to the staff for the impeccable service they received which saved their lives. Minister Debono distributed certificates of a training course which was organized for doctors, nurses and technical employees working within this Unit.
The installation of the Recompression Chamber was part of a larger project aimed at promoting diving as a niche tourism market for Gozo and included amongst other initiatives, the sinking of two vessels at Ix-Xatt l-Ahmar to serve as artificial dive sites.
Photo by George Scerri.