There is a growing concern amongst social workers that mental health patients will go untreated and suffer “serious consequences” following the closure of the psychiatric out-patient department at Mater Dei.
“While some patients or their carers are able to reach out for help, there is a grave concern for those patients with serious mental illness who lack insight and who might fall through the cracks and remain in the community untreated,” the Maltese Association of Social Workers said in a press release.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already brought a sense of heightened anxiety to the nation, proving evermore troublesome for those dealing with pre-existing mental health conditions.
In addition, the MASW fears that a lack of human resources could also result in cases of negligence.
“There’s also concern about the lack of human resources to meet the high demands and this concern also extends to who will shoulder medical legal responsibility should something happen due to the lack of human resources,” it said.
According to the MASW, the psychiatric outpatient department was closed with no concrete plan to transfer such patients to community clients.
As a result, the association is appealing for “appropriate premises, whereby each member of the multi-disciplinary can offer quality services.”
“Mental health issues are on the increase and will continue to affect people even when the virus is under control,” the press release ended.