New ward inaugurated at Mt Carmel for female patients with drug dependency
Two years since the launching of a 10-year strategy for mental health, deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister, Chris Fearne, inaugurated a new ward for female patients who are dependent on drugs. The ward is dedicated to Dr Maria Sciberras, who worked hard in support of drug addicts. Architect Sharon Mallia, who is responsible for the restoration project at Mt Carmel hospital, said that the ward is furnished according to specified guidelines for persons with mental challenges.
She described the works at Mt Carmel as dignified, and furnished in a modern environment for those receiving treatment.
Work is also underway at this hospital in various other wards, while a tender is currently underway for the restoration of the building’s facade and an analysis on the wards structures. Ms Mallia added that block number one will consist of a ward for 52 patients and a garden with an investment of €5 million.
Minister Fearne said that Mt Carmel hospital, which used to host 500 patients, is currently accommodating half the patients because, according to the strategy, the other half of patients are being treated in the community with various services offered, including by the Richmond and Suret il-Bniedem foundations. While there are patients who have been in the hospital for long years, he said that the hospital is being renovated with comfort and specific equipment for patients with mental challenges. Dr Fearne added that work is also underway on a new psychiatric hospital near Mater Dei, with an investment of €64 million, while a tender evaluation is underway for the design of eight wards, 28 beds, a garden and open space for patients, relatives, and a parking lot.
Until this acute hospital is completed, the Minister said that talks are ongoing with professionals so that, even temporarily, wards are available for only few days, away from Mt Carmel.
While recognising the increase of cases with mental health challenges during the pandemic, Dr Fearne said that his ministry is considering a collaboration with non-government organisations who work in the mental health field so that more persons in the community, including even in schools, are given assistance.
The mental health strategy is based on four pillars – the promotion and prevention of mental health care; the strengthening and renewal of services; long-term support to patients and workers in the sector; and professionals who offer services for more ideas and new services.