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Mental Welfare Society voices concerns affecting service users in Ocean Views

The Gibraltar Mental Welfare Society has expressed concern over the lack of transport and mental health care for service users in Ocean Views.

In a statement, the Society said it has heard there is no longer a psychologist based at Ocean Views.

It said that this role was strongly welcomed when it was announced, and 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,” a spokesman for the GMWS said.

“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.”

It also highlights that there is only one child psychologist when there are supposed to be two, adding that it does not know the reason for this significant reduction in services provided, but adding this needs to be addressed urgently.

In addition, there are concerns that Ocean Views patients do not have access to a bus that can service their needs.

The Society said that this would be a problem at any time but, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, patients are “more isolated than ever”, adding that it makes life more difficult for service users, particularly the 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 GMWS spokesman added.

“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,” the GMWS said.

“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 NGOs working in this sphere, but only serves the political interests of the Government.”