Refurbished ward at Mount Carmel Hospital is first to meet mental health standards

Newly inaugurated Sala Tabiba Maria Sciberras is first ward at Mount Carmel Hospital to meet mental health standards

A room within Sala Tabiba Maria Sciberras ward
A room within Sala Tabiba Maria Sciberras ward

The newly inaugurated Sala Tabiba Maria Sciberras ward is the first within Mount Carmel Hospital to meet the necessary mental health standards.

The ward was inaugurated on Tuesday by Health Minister Chris Fearne as part of an ongoing refurbishment programme at the mental health institution.

Architect Sharon Mallia said the new ward, which will be used to treat female patients who have mental health issues related to drug use, is the first to be fitted with anti-barricade doors, allowing staff unrestricted and immediate access into a room in a situation where a patient has barricaded himself or herself in.

Mallia said the ward would also feature anti-ligature furniture. The primary function is to deny anyone from using the hardware as a means to inflict harm on themselves or others.

"The ward is also equipped with panic alarms for emergency cases as well as CCTV, fire detectors as well as intercoms," she said. 

The 10-bed ward cost the government €1 million. 

Block 10 garden to be refurbished
Block 10 garden to be refurbished

Clifford Farrugia from the Foundation For Medical Services said the garden within block 10 would be refurbished into a therapeutic space.

A second garden is to be built near the young person's unit and will include shade, a barbecue area and an area dedicated to sports, Faurriga said. 

Psychiatric community care services within the community

Fearne stressed the importance of mental health services beyond just Mount Carmel Hospital and within the community. 

He said when it came to Malta's mental health strategy, there were four pillars, the first being promoting mental health services and prevention. "The second includes strengthening services and updating infrastructure," Fearne said.

The third pillar involved supporting those currently suffering from mental health issues and lending support to families. The fourth pillar, Fearne said, was consulting NGOs and other stakeholders within the community.

Fearne said it was essential to take a holistic approach to mental health, which involved the community. "Remember, the service we are offering does not end with clinics; this is why especially considering the toll COVID-19 has taken on people's mental health, services go beyond," he said.