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New site identified for mental facility at Mater Dei - minister

New acute facility on Mater Dei to have 100 beds

The government has identified a site for new acute patient facility on Mater Dei hospital's grounds, Health Minister Chris Fearne said.

The Health Ministry was now working with the Lands Department to host the new facility. The building is set to have around 100 beds, he added.

Times of Malta had already reported that the Foundation for Medical Sciences acquired land in Mater Dei in February, and a medical brief was being drawn up for new premises.

Calls for acute psychiatric care to be moved to an acute general hospital setting had been previously made by Mental Health Commissioner John Cachia.

Mr Fearne made the announcement during a press conference Friday morning, where he was reacting to an NAO report that found several shortcomings in the hospital.

An NAO performance audit published last week found several shortcomings, including problems with staff shortages, low funding and security.

“We started to target these already,” Mr Fearne said. He noted that the government was working on a 10-year plan, between 2020-2030. A strategy on mental health will feature as part of an overarching National Health Strategy, he said. 

Turning to infrastructural concerns, Mr Fearne said wards were being refurbished. Patients were to be relocated so as to have three empty wards ready for refurbishment by the coming weeks, he added.

The government had also embarked on a five-year plan to refurbish Mount Carmel, Mr Fearne noted.

Turning to security concerns, Mr Fearne said that staff training was being carried out and that security guards had different and new tasks to carry out.

There was also a feasibility assessment being carried out to see whether electronic access control could be used, he noted.

“We started to target these already,” Mr Fearne said. He noted that the government was working on a 10-year plan, between 2020-2030. A strategy on mental health will feature as part of an overarching National Health Strategy, he said. 

Read: Mount Carmel Hospital upgrade ‘must be sustained’

Turning to infrastructural concerns, Mr Fearne said wards were being refurbished. Patients were to be relocated so as to have three empty wards ready for refurbishment by the coming weeks, he added.

 

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