Boyce admits Psychiatric Hospital in poor condition
Minister of Health John Boyce has admitted that conditions at the island’s lone Psychiatric Hospital are less than satisfactory.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY moments after delivering remarks at an Emergency Risk Communications Training Workshop this morning at the Accra Hotel, Boyce said while conditions were not up to scratch, plans were already underway for sections of the 124-year-old Black Rock institution to be refurbished.
His comments came following the circulation of several photographs on social media, which showed extensive decay to the hospital’s structure, rotting furniture and patients lying on the floor.
“It’s obviously an unsatisfactory condition which must be corrected,” Boyce told Barbados TODAY before hurrying off to Parliament.
He said a team of officials from the Ministry of Health visited the hospital this morning to conduct an investigation and would make recommendations on how to remedy the situation.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health [Tennyson Springer], along with a team visited the hospital this morning and again we will look and review what’s happening in terms of setting priorities to make sure that we deal with those issues.”
However, while stating that the institution was in serious need of refurbishment, Boyce stopped short of saying the hospital was in line to be demolished.
He said for a project of that magnitude to be undertaken, the relative research would have to be done.
Demolition and rebuilding requires a certain strategy to be in place first [and] there are upwards of 400 patients being tended to at that facility. We regret some of the situation, which has been highlighted, but thank God these are not in the majority,” he noted.
Nurses and workers at the mental health institution have been complaining for some time about having to work in unfit conditions and have taken industrial action, including a two-day sickout beginning July 9, with threats of more action if their grievances were not addressed.