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GMWS call for Govt to publish Mental Health Board Report

Gibraltar Mental Welfare Society called for the Gibraltar Government to publish the 2020 Mental Health Board Report and raised concerns on the lack of psychologists in the Ocean Views psychiatric unit.
The Society said the report was submitted to the Minister of Health at the end of March 2020. This report specifically focuses on Ocean Views and onsite provision for service users.
“We also ask the Government to publish the Mental Health Strategy Plan, sometimes referred to as the five year road map, which Minister Sacramento asked the External Clinical Advisor, Karen Buckley, to develop,” GMWS said.
The Society said that last February Ms Buckley said that the Action Plan would be published, showing exactly how the 48 recommendations in the Mental Health Audit would be implemented.
“Just as publication of the Audit was crucial, so is it equally important to publish the road map so we can have a clear indication of how the system is being improved and know that the necessary reqirements are actually being met,” GMWS said.
The GMWS said it extremely concerned by the increasing number of service users and relatives who approach them for help.
The Society questioned recent job losses that has resulted in Ocean Views having a psychiatric unit, with no psychologist on site.
“We do what we can but in many cases we can only refer people back to the system and when that system doesn’t deliver, there is very little to be done,” the Society said.
“We are aware that as a result of this, those who can afford it, turn to private practice to see the professionals they so desperately need to see, and who are not available for them in the GHA. Those who can’t pay for a service are left to langour in their misery.”
“The fact that a number of key professionals, who were under contract to the GHA, have left in the last year or so will have worsened the situation.”
“These include the Psychologist, Louise Barber, who was contracted a few years ago to be based in OV.”
“A recruitment which was long awaited and warmly welcomed by the GMWS. This post is no longer in existence. To have a psychiatric unit, with no psychologist on site, is unacceptable.”
“The posts held by Dr Chimene Taylor and Dr Morisson, both with experience and post graduate qualifications in substance misuse, have also disappeared from the service.”
The Society said there is now only one child psychologist seeing patients, where once there were two.
“Clearly, this reduction of major posts will have had a very detrimental effect on a service that was already finding it difficult to meet the needs of service user,” GMWS said.
“Serious questions need to be asked about the circumstances leading to these job losses.”
“Apart from the need to restructure the service, as set out out in the 2019 Mental Health Audit, the GMWS considers that the Government, and the community as a whole, must realise that many factors in modern society appear to be contributing to an increasing number of mental health problems.”
The Society said these increasing mental health problems mean the Government needs to be better prepared and make more of an investment in the local mental health provision.
“Although, no system can put right all the many problems which afflict some individuals, it can certainly aim to do a lot better than it’s doing at the moment.”

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