The Gibraltar Mental Welfare Society is concerned about the fact that patients in Ocean Views are still without access to a bus that can service their needs. This would be a problem at any time, but during Covid 19, when restrictions for visitors are already in place, and they are more isolated than ever, this makes life even more difficult for service users in the facility, particularly long stay ones. This matter was raised in the Mental Health Medical Board review of 2019, published in March 2020 but nothing has been done about this yet.
The Society has also been hearing concerns from relatives of service users, who say there is no longer a psychologist based at OV, something which the Society strongly welcomed at the time it was announced, as a post which is absolutely crucial. In a very recent case, we have been told that a relative has not had access to a psychologist, after discharge from OV, since the end of February. Nine months on, they don’t know who to turn to. We consider this very long delay is totally unacceptable, particularly when we have been assured officially that waiting time, for this kind of appointment, is down to six weeks.
We have also had complaints regarding the fact that there is only one child psychologist in post at the moment, when there are supposed to be two. We do not know the ins and outs of the circumstances leading to this significant reduction in the services provided, but feel it needs to be addressed urgently if this is indeed the case.
The Society continues to wait for the publication of the 2020 Mental Health Board report and the 2019 Mental Health Audit from Public Health England. We consider it a very serious omission on the part of the Government not to make these documents public. We can only infer that they are very unfavourable- reflecting the experiences of many service users – and that the Government is trying to make some improvements in the service before finally publishing them.
The GMWS considers that the very extended delay in releasing these reports does no favours to the service users, mental health professionals, or the NGO’s working in this sphere, but only serves the political interests of the government.