Position Paper: Mount Carmel Hospital Unfit for Delivery of Mental Health Care

In response to the TVM article published on 7 June 2019, The Maltese Association of Psychiatry (MAP) agrees wholeheartedly with the sentiment that Mount Carmel Hospital is not fit for the treatment of patients and has been unfit for this purpose for several years now. 

The MAP completely supports the plans to phase out Mount Carmel Hospital which is unsafe and in a dilapidated state and to develop a new acute psychiatric hospital which is conducive to the delivery of high quality mental health care. All modern mental health services are developed to ensure parity with physical health services and therefore reduce stigmatisation. The new mental health provision should be located within or physically connected to Mater Dei Hospital in Malta.

Furthermore, a parallel plan within the mental health strategy needs to be present for there to be a shift of the in-patient budget towards developing adequately staffed community mental health services which could offer evidenced based mental health interventions safely for the majority of people within our community around the Maltese Islands. Adequately resourced community facilities would therefor reduce the need for people to be admitted into a psychiatric facility. Further information pertaining to the MAP ‘2018 Report on Staffing Levels in Malta’s NHS, and Comparison with Recommended Standards’ issued in November 2018 can be found on our website.

With the development of the new psychiatry hospital and community services the MAP does not consider that it is appropriate to continue to provide any psychiatric services, as was mentioned in the article above, from Mount Carmel Hospital . The MAP is concerned that if psychiatric services were to remain operating from Mount Carmel Hospital this would inevitably lead to having a two tiered mental health service provision within the Maltese Islands and lead to these three outcomes; 

  1. The stigma associated with Mount Carmel Hospital is insurmountable. Providing any mental health service from Mount Carmel Hospital will undermine other efforts being made to regenerate and bust the myths which surround mental disorders and bring the  respect deserved to mental health services.
  2. Keeping Mount Carmel Hospital open will create a two tier system for patients and professionals alike, this adding a novel problem to our National Health service. 
  3. Keeping Mount Carmel Hospital open with discourage the equally important shift of the mental health budget towards being utilised to develop and run community services. The development of such services with an adequate number of trained staff based within the community around the Maltese Islands should be the fulcrum from where mental health service provision should be provided. 

The MAP believes that Mount Carmel Hospital is a beautiful 1860’s Victorian building which authorities could repurpose and be used for alternative arrangements, however one which has no connection to mental health services. 

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