Traffic policeman Simon Schembri is to be one of the first people to get a prosthetic arm from the new Orthotics and Prosthetics Unit at Karin Grech Hospital, Health Minister Chris Fearne said during the section’s inauguration on Friday.

PC Schembri, 48, lost his arm in a hit-and-run incident on May 15. He also suffered serious injuries to his limbs and lungs.

Liam Debono, 17, has been charged with his attempted murder.

The new unit was inaugurated by Steward Health Care Malta in partnership with renowned Prosthetics provider MCOPi.

The centre which has now been seeing patients for the last months, provides a daily service to patients requiring an array of different prosthetic and orthotics devices.

Karin Grech CEO Stephen Zammit said that since going into partnership with MCOPi, the unit has had over 1,600 visits from prosthetics patients, and 6,400 from those requiring care in orthotics, amounting to more than 8,000 visits.

The unit sees people Monday to Saturday and there was virtually no waiting time for new amputee patients to be seen. Moreover, the devices they were being given were of a much better quality, Dr Zammit said.

The unit had also seen several patients who had been in the system for quite some time and had come a long way in assessing their needs. Patients found to have an ill-suited or sub-level device were in the process of being given a new one, and the dedicated team of staff was working closely with patients to develop home care plans.

Nadine Delicata, COO and Interim President of Steward Health Care Malta, spoke of the infrastructural works carried out.

She said Steward Malta was working on a master plan which looked at the entire hospital campus to ensure that every euro spent went towards improving the service for patients and the wider community.

Mr Fearne said the new premises were a far cry from the crowded, old premises where services were given up to a few months ago. He stated that besides the new premises, the quality of service had also improved considerably.

In relation to this service, Steward Malta set up an OPU Advisory Board, composed of a multidisciplinary team of individuals including vascular surgeons, patients, rehab professionals, and administrators who would come together to discuss best practices and ways to improve the service, not only once a patient arrived at Karin Grech Hospital, but also when still receiving care at Mater Dei, and long after his device was given to him.

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