States that Monte Carmeli no longer adapted for modern mental health care
The Chairman for Mental Health Services, Anton Grech, said that if mental health care for the community becomes more effective there will be no further need for a mental care hospital. In an interview with TVM, he acknowledged that the Monte Carmeli Hospital is not adapted for modern mental health care and that parts of it are condemned. However, he made it clear that no patient at the hospital is in any danger.
In a building that is over 150 years old, Dr Anton Grech acknowledged that there is a great need for changes to be made at the Attard hospital.
He said the hospital is not equipped for scientific modern mental health care treatment. He said there are two levels of plans. The first is that of immediate actions needed and the second is what will happen in the future after a new hospital for acute care materialises near Mater Dei.
Dr Grech said that some sections at Monte Carmeli have been condemned and some wards closed down. He made it clear no patients are in any danger after being transferred to new wards.
He said that no patient is in an area that poses any physical danger while some areas are in the process of being to be used until the new hospital is ready.
Dr Grech said over the coming weeks two further wards will have been arranged for use and this will be followed by other wards needing to be taken in hand.
He said the long-term plan is that treatment for acute mental health is to be separated from long-term care. Treatment for these will be undertaken at the new hospital near Mater Dei while Monte Carmeli will continue to be used for treatment of specialised cases.
He said such specialised care will be for elderly persons – that is, geriatric cases, or victims of drugs abuse and that is the aim of the current plans.
He explained that patients at Monte Carmeli not suffering from mental health problems have been relocated from the hospital and there are now 353 patients of whom 228 are men and 125 women.
Persons with acute mental health problems have an average of 40 years, while chronic cases mostly affect elderly persons who have been there so long they regard the hospital as their home and have no other home to relocate to.
Dr Grech remarked that children and youths are not housed in the main hospital building but in a house that is adjacent to the hospital. He said the plan is that children under 12 will not be placed in psychiatric wards but will be cared for in medical wards at Mater Dei. Adolescents will receive treatment in a special section in the new hospital.