Report Recommends Residential Mental Health Facility

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A newly released report recommends building a long-term residential mental health facility in the Cayman Islands as the best way forward to treat local patients.

This was the conclusion of an outline business case prepared for government by consultancy firm KPMG.

Currently there is no long-term residential mental health care facility, and patients are sent overseas for treatment in Jamaica or the United States.

Many others who require treatment cannot be transferred abroad as they are unable to obtain visas due to criminal convictions. Patients in this position are treated either in the eight-bed mental health unit at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, incarcerated at H.M.P Northward, or cared for by family members, often under difficult circumstances.

Following several stakeholder meetings and consultations, it was recommended that a long-term residential mental health facility should be developed for the Cayman Islands to make better provision for persons with serious mental illness or mental impairment.

The recommended facility is based on a design that incorporates a central building and a series of nine small cottages, each of which would accommodate six patients. A main building and seven of the cottages would be developed in the initial phase of construction, and the rest built in later years as demand dictates.

The proposed facility will be funded and operated by government. Discussions are now under way between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure to identify a suitable site for the development and preparation of the land.

“I am delighted that we are now able to proceed with this much-needed facility to treat our mental health patients in a proper and fitting manner,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Minister for Health. “This has been a long time coming, but my administration is determined to ensure that we achieve this important milestone in the healthcare we provide for our people. Those who require treatment, often the most vulnerable in our society, will no longer have to be sent overseas and separated from loved ones to get the care they need.

“Importantly, instead of patients being locked up, or on the street, we will have the appropriate accommodation to help those who need it most.”

A full version of the KPMG report is available on the Ministry of Health website www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky.

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