Permits have been issued to demolish one of Mount Carmel Hospital’s most dangerous wards to make way for a therapeutic garden.
Following a parliamentary question asked by PN MP Ian Castaldi Paris, Minister of Health Chris Fearne said that Mount Carmel Hospital is set to get a serious facelift in the coming weeks.
Two wards that are severely decayed, Block 1 and Block 10, have been evacuated. Tenders have been issued to change the ceilings of Block 1, a project that will cost €1.5 million.
Meanwhile, Block 10, situated just outside the hospital’s gates and adjacent to the parking area, will be demolished and replaced with a therapeutic garden.
“Last week, the Planning Authority issued a permit to knock down the ward. I’m informed that demolition will start this month, and it will take six to eight months to complete. At the end of the year, its residents and staff will be able to enjoy a brand new therapeutic garden,” Fearne said.
Fearne added that the bigger picture for mental health care involves opening a new psychiatric hospital at Mater Dei and moving services to community clinics.
“Mount Carmel Hospital is old – it’s around 150 years old. We’re launched a programme for the next four and a half years to better the mental health sector. We’ve started moving patients out of the hospital, but it’s still needed at the moment until these projects are up and running,” the minister said.
Despite political promises for Mount Carmel to undergo major modernisation, the mental health institute remains at the centre of controversy.
One in four people will suffer from a mental health disorder in their lifetime, and the pandemic has only exacerbated people’s need for such treatment.
Last year, the Health Ministry unveiled a 10-year Mental Health Strategy for the islands, with €6 million set to be allocated to upgrade mental health services on the island.
However, progress has been staggered with the COVID-19 pandemic taking national priority.
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