The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is now realizing major savings with the installation of its own in-house oxygen system.
QEH director of engineering services Paula Agbowu made this disclosure last night at the town hall meeting sponsored by the hospital’s management and held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Two Mile Hill, St Michael.
She said: “The QEH has a duplex oxygen system and that system is designed to continuously produce oxygen at high pressure and designed purity. The plant that we have is used to produce oxygen directly to critical areas within the hospital. I am speaking about the intensive care units, the operating the theatres, the labour ward and the Accident & Emergency Department.
“The plant currently produces 75 to 80 per cent of the total need of oxygen and once we have the plant running we only have to supplement oxygen with bottled oxygen, which we purchase from two suppliers. The bottled oxygen that we have is used on the various wards and departments that we do not have piped oxygen, and in the future we hope to have to have most of our areas supplied with piped oxygen so that we do not have to use bottled oxygen.”
Agbowu pointed out that the bottled oxygen was also used as a back-up to the plant, and went on to say that the QEH would have to carry out maintenance which would entail downtime occasionally.
“The in-house supply of oxygen saved the QEH substantial sums of money. When the QEH is producing oxygen we purchase 76 per cent less oxygen, which amounts to a cost savings of just around $1.9 million annually. When we are purchasing oxygen we can spend as much as $2.5 million annually. This is one area of cost savings which we want to continue to rely on. As long as we are producing our oxygen this will continue to save us significant sums of money.
“We will enjoy further cost savings when we bottle our own oxygen as a back up to our bottled gas system. This is something we are working towards. We hope that by the third quarter of next year we will be in a position to bottle our own oxygen. When we are producing oxygen in-house we purchase around 53 bottles daily. However, when we are not producing oxygen for whatever reason, it means that we can purchase 220 bottles of oxygen daily. These are the kinds of initiatives that we are looking at to save money throughout the hospital,” Agbowu said. (NC)