The number of men admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital is three times as high as that of women, Minister of Health John Boyce revealed today.
In an address at the official opening of the Acute Male Admission Unit at Black Rock Main Road, St Michael mental institution, Boyce stated that between 2010 and 2014 the hospital admitted 876 males compared with 277 females. First-time admissions in 2014 totalled 169 males and 68 females.
The Minister of Health also revealed that the re-admission rate was no different, with 760 males and 217 females readmitted in 2014.
He expressed concern at the large number of re-admissions to the mental health institution, noting that last year there were 237 first-time admissions and 977 re-admissions, and that between 2010 and 2014 of the 5 767 admissions, 1 221 were first-timers and 4 546 were repeat patients.
However, Boyce announced a reduction in the number of patients at the hospital, with the current census showing 497 patients of whom 364 are males and 133 females, a trend he attributed to a “conscious effort” by the Ministry of Health to decentralize health care.
“The trend in the actual patient roll must be attributed to enhanced services being provided in the community, outside of the hospital setting. Over time, public mental health care services have been upgraded to include and facilitate an extended Community Mental Health Programme. The goal of this programme is to decentralize mental health services and increase access through the established polyclinic system,” he said.
Meantime, the minister called on families and communities to play a role in the rehabilitation of psychiatric patients.
“Family and community support need to be constantly encouraged and facilitated at the Psychiatric Hospital. Social support services such as the availability of welfare benefits, housing, educational opportunities, skills training and employment opportunities form a vital component of mental health care.”
Working conditions at the Psychiatric Hospital has been condemned as unfit by employees and their trade union who complained that some of the buildings were structurally unsound. Nurses have also charged that patients on the ward could not get potable drinking water, while others suffered from diarrhea after using broken faucets. They have also been reports of sheep droppings in the kitchen and the growth of fungus on the walls in some wards. (NC)