The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

New €1 million Mount Carmel ward inaugurated

Giuseppe Attard Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 15:27 Last update: about 7 days ago

Health Minister Chris Fearne officially inaugurated a new 1 million ward at Mount Carmelo Hospital on Tuesday. 

Speaking at the inauguration of the ward, which is named after Dr. Maria Sciberras, Fearne emphasized the importance of the work being done through the country’s mental health care strategy – which caters for the next 10 years. 

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The document for the strategy for mental health was drafted and finalised last year. This document includes the input of health care professionals, specialised care givers, patients, unions and anyone else who was interested in contributing. Both political parties also contributed to the finalisation of the strategy. 

The plan for the next 10 years has its foundations on four critical pillars, Fearne said; “these are the promotion, care and prevention of mental health difficulties, the renewal of services and structures in place for the care of mental health, to not only cure the patient at the time but follow through and to give the best conditions necessary to the work force tackling mental health problems”. 

“The four pillars work in conjunction with each other” Fearne said while reminding everyone that through this inauguration, the second pillar of the strategy is being addressed. 

The new ward will be utilised to aid patients who have mental health difficulties and who are also combatting drug abuse problems. That is why the ward is named after Dr. Maria Sciberras, who was critical in the opening of the first detox centre in Malta. 

The ward will open its doors on Wednesday. 

Apart from inaugurating the new ward, Fearne, together with FSM CEO Clifford Farrugia, laid out the plans for more renovations and new facilities at Mount Carmel. The new plans also include a new psychiatric hospital to be built in the Mater Dei campus. 

The plans for the new hospital are still being worked on and are set to be completed in the next four years. Its main use will be to treat patients who do not require long term care, meaning that this hospital’s patients would also be given care while remaining in the community. 

Projects to keep patients in the community have also been in process. Recently 233 patients were relocated from Mount Carmel into treatment houses in order for them to receive their care in the community. “This has reduced the population at Mount Carmel by almost half”, Fearne said. 

Giving the specific details on the new ward was the architect in charge Sharon Mallia who highlighted the use of the highest standard in technology and innovation. 

Mallia started by highlighting the safeguards put in place at Dr. Maria Sciberras ward. For the first time in Malta, anti-ligature furniture was used in the rooms of the new ward in order for patients not to be able to harm themselves. 

This together with anti-barricade doors, CCTV coverage, nurse callers and fire alarms are only some of the safeguards put in place, Mallia said. 

Farrugia finished the conference by giving an outline of the remaining projects and restorations going on at Mount Carmel. 

These include, two new therapeutic gardens in Mount Carmel, the restoration of the 160-year-old building and an animal shelter to be used for therapeutic purposes. These are all part of a €2 million investment in mental health care in Malta.

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