Health Minister Says Overcrowding at Mental Institution Will be Solved

Mt Gay Hospital, St George

by Linda Straker

Health Minister Nickolas Steele has told the members of Parliament that the island’s lone mental institution is overcrowded, but there is a plan that will resolve the problem.

“That overcrowding is due to the Mt Gay facilities being used to house new admittance and existing patients,” Steele told Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives.

He explained that previously there was an initial admittance clinic at the General Hospital compound — but due to changes and adjustments because of ongoing work, the clinic was moved to Mt Gay Mental Institution.

Providing an update on the work undertaken by his ministry since the December sitting of the House, he shared with the members the reason for the overcrowding. “So we have new admittance, those seeking residential treatment, as well as outpatient clinic all in the same place, but that problem will be solved in the near future,” he assured.

Previously, there was Rathdune Clinic where first-time patients requiring psychiatric treatment was housed. That facility no longer provides its service at the General Hospital because it was moved to the Mt Gay compound. Steele said that once the first phase of the new hospital expansion project is complete, “there will be adjustments in terms of where some services are located and we will re-open the Rathdune clinic for first-time admittances.”

Mt Gay Hospital was opened in the late 1980s to accommodate patients suffering from Mental Illness, following the destruction of the old facility at Richmond Hill during the US-led intervention of 25 October 1983.

The facility was built to accommodate 80 beds, however due to the influx of patients, the number of beds was increased to 100.

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