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Mental Health Commissioner to meet stakeholders

The Commissioner for Mental Health will meet stakeholders in the coming weeks on a new law passed in the beginning of December.

The new provisions focus on how patients could leave Mount Carmel Hospital in the shortest possible time

During the second reading at the end of November, Health Minister Joe Cassar described the Mental Health Bill as “a great leap forward” from the existing law as patients now had full autonomy in safeguarding their rights with-out interference.

During a visit to the Office of the Commissioner for Mental Health and Older People, Parliamentary Secretary Mario Galea said that while the emphasis of the old law was based on clients’ involuntary admissions at Mount Carmel Hospital, the new provisions focus on how patients could leave the hospital in the shortest possible time.

It emphasises professional accountability where professionals take decisions on treatment programme with the patient and the caregiver.

Mr Galea said involuntary care must be given in the shortest possible time and could also be provided in the community. It was no longer a must to do so within an institution.

The forthcoming meeting with stakeholders is meant to ensure that the necessary changes required by law are implemented “in the best possible way”.

The Office of the Commissioner, set up in 2011, cooperates with governmental entities and NGOs to ensure that both the elderly and people with mental health problems enjoy the best care and services. The commissioner probes complaints by people facing mental health problems and also deals with issues related to elderly citizens and their relatives.

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