Treatment tallies US$875,000

Mental health patients referred overseas as last resort

Around US$875,000 has been spent on overseas treatment for Cayman’s mental health patients over the past five years, the House heard.

And of the seven patients receiving treatment abroad, one has been overseas nearly seven years and two others for six years, Health Minister Anthony Eden told the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

Answering questions from West Bay MLA Rolston Anglin, Mr. Eden said the patients were in Jamaica.

He told the House that between March 1998 and February 2006, US$701,161 had been spent on the seven patients.

He explained that only after interventions did not work, and as a last resort, were patients referred overseas.

The intention was to keep people as close as possible to their family unit as much as possible, he said.

Mr. Eden said Cayman did have a comprehensive range of mental health services.

A full-time psychiatrist had recently been appointed and there was a plan to increase the number of community mental health nurses working from clinics, he said

Steps were being taken to expand the day treatment programme in place at George Town Hospital, he added.

Discussions were ongoing on how best to meet the needs of people with mental disorders and who have committed criminal offences.

They wanted to develop a unit to provide treatment for people who were incarcerated and they had identified a possible location at the Fairbanks facility, he said.

It would be helpful to take such people out of Northward Prison where they should not be, Mr. Eden told the House.

He said they wanted to make sure there were adequate mental health facilities and the aim would be to have all the country’s mental patients treated here.

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