Earlier today at least 50 patients from Mt Carmel Hospital were transferred to a retirement home following the situation which developed at the hospital, where some wards had to be closed due to dangerous ceilings.
This was done in agreement with MUMN and has temporarily solved one of the crises the hospital is facing, though moving a mental health patient is not ideal considering the vulnerability of such patients.
“It was very distressing for them. Had the ceiling been maintained when it should have been, none of this would have happened,” stated one psychiatric nurse who spoke to us on condition of anonymity.
There have been other media reports over the past years highlighting the dire condition of the hospital with one 2016 report stating that a man pleaded with a magistrate to send him to prison rather than sending him back to the mental health hospital.
“Things have been deteriorating for years” – Psychiatric Nurse at Mt Carmel.
These reports do not help the negative stigma that is attached to mental health and Mt Carmel hospital here in Malta, which is one major concern for the psychiatric nurse.
“Unfortunately in Malta things only get moving when the situation is desperate and the press is involved, which is totally wrong,” said the nurse.
She expressed her concern that by highlighting these situations on the media, we are discouraging people who need help from seeking it. But at the same time it is clear that unless these problems are highlighted to the public, nothing will change.
“Should we bring everything to light, so the much-needed changes take place, but at the same time augment the stigma surrounding mental health? Or should we keep everything under wraps, to the detriment of staff and patients who have to operate in such conditions?” This is a continuous dilemma that the nurse feels her and her colleagues at Mt Carmel have to struggle with.
“When I mention that I work at Mt Carmel, people make a face, so imagine how they would react if I had to tell them that I’m a patient in the hospital”
The nurse continued to say, “Things have been deteriorating for years. Certain wards even lack adequate showering facilities. If I was a person in need of hospitalization at Mt Carmel and I read about the state of the hospital, unfortunately I would refuse to be admitted, no matter how good or caring the staff is.”
She explained how by improving the situation at Mt Carmel, patients who are in need of mental care would be more accepting of being admitted into the hospital. “When I mention that I work at Mt Carmel, people make a face, so imagine how they would react if I had to tell them that I’m a patient in the hospital. If Mt Carmel is given the make-over that it needs, hopefully it will help patients become more accepting of being admitted, and help reduce the negative stigma that currently exists.”
Yesterday the Health Ministry, Dr Chris Fearne, said to the Malta Independent that no patients will be moved back in wards which are structurally unsafe. The firm, who will conduct the structural studies, has already been commissioned. The studies will be carried out on the whole hospital not only on the concerned wards. However this will take a number of months to conclude. A project manager has also been assigned and Ward 2 is expected to be refurbished by the end of the year.
This article was written by guest contributor Franica Pulis who works as a freelance writer, proofreader and translator. Her life revolves around her two young sons and her husband. Franica spent 5 years working as a journalist with newspapers Illum and MaltaToday and has been involved in theatre for the past 20 years.