A primary health clinic has opened in the centre of Fgura, giving the southern patients access to four specialised services besides family doctors, most notably mental health.
The new clinic offers podiatry, psychotherapy, speech and language therapists and will also serve as a new hub for mental health services, the latter emphasised by Minister of Health Chris Fearne in its inauguration.
Fearne explained that mental health is a top priority for Malta, and the decentralisation of access away from hospitals is outlined in the national 10-year strategy.
“This is an essential link in the field of healthcare in our country and therefore an unprecedented investment is being made to increase the number of clinics and facilities within them while improving the services offered to the community so that hospitals are only used for more serious cases,” he said.
A new mental health centre has also opened in Qormi and includes six rooms dedicated to the practice.
Earlier this week, mental health workers warned that the abrupt closure of Mater Dei’s psychiatric and out-patient unit severely affected patients and doctors.
Psychiatrists that made guest appearances on Lovin Daily warned that patients were uninformed of the sudden closure and that the pandemic “hijacked” mental health services despite a skyrocketing need.
“The six rooms in Qormi Health Centre are just crumbs,” Dr Camillieri told Lovin Malta, warning it won’t cut it for the thousands of patients who need the services.
He explained that a lack of sound communication and transparency are impeding their ability to work.
“There’s €6 million a year allocated to mental health, but where is it going?” he asked. “What structural changes have happened to Mount Camel Hospital? How are we increasing the amount of staff in mental health services? These changes need to happen today and not in ten years’ time.”
Malta’s Mental Health Alliance has flagged the situation as dire and warned that many patients were uninformed of the closure of mental health services at the general hospital.
Tag someone who needs to know this