The 117-year-old St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital is to be de-commissioned.
Confirmation has come from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, during his contribution to the 2020 Budget debate this morning.
Minister Deyalsingh says the Government is working on a new centrally located centre which will focus on treating Mental Health.
This he says will be a part of a change in approach to the treatment of Mental Health in the country, which he termed, "Behavioural Health Wellness services".
"A new, centrally located, easily accessible major mental health facility, not tucked away in St. Ann's where people in Cedros can't reach it, where people from Toco can't reach it. But a centrally located new facility supported by satellite facilities so people can be reintegrated with the families and communities," said Minister Deyalsingh.
"It will lead eventually to the decommissioning of St. Ann's," said the Health Minister.
He said previously, mental health had been focused on treatment after the mental diseases and psychosis had already reached an advanced stage. He said this approach will be adjusted for the future.
Earlier in his contribution, the Health Minister Deyalsingh told the Parliament that a file concerning the eye injections—which allegedly left 15 people blind—has been compiled and sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The health minister also reported on the country’s improved statistics on maternal mortality, noting that T&T is now recognised as a leader in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.
Minister Deyalsingh says the public health sector—despite being much maligned in the public sphere—has continued to provide top quality service and care to the population, and for free. He notes that it costs up to $500,000 per month to care for “preemie” babies in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Units at hospital, and such costs could run into the millions if the “preemie” baby needs care for several months.
Minister Deyalsingh is calling on citizens to appreciate the quality health care available for free in the public sector. He says in other countries, such services are not available if you don’t have insurance, and if one does not have the funds to pay their hospital bills immediately, one’s wages are garnished or property seized to off-set the debt.
Story by PETER CHRISTOPHER & NEWS DESK