Privately-run group homes would solve Bellevue problem, says former head
Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio
The former head of the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston, Professor Frederick Hickling, is suggesting that the Government pay privately-run group homes to house some of the patients abandoned at the institution by their families.
A report by the Auditor General has revealed that close to 673 patients who have been discharged from Bellevue remain there receiving long-term care because their families have not collected them.
The report chronicles a problem highlighted by The Gleaner two years ago which said Bellevue was operating as a homeless shelter.
Hickling says a public-private partnership to establish group homes would be an appropriate solution for offering these patients the support they need.
He told talk show host, Ronnie Thwaites on Power 106 FM this morning that at least one private individual is already offering the service at significantly lower costs than the government currently incurs to take care of the Bellevue patients.
"Instead of having to pay $1.5 million per patient per year, you would pay probably $300,000," he said.
The Auditor General has said the institutionalisation of patients after they have been discharged form Bellevue is counterproductive to their rehabilitation and reintegration and could be deemed as a violation of their rights.
The auditor general added that the institutionalisation of patients prevented the hospital from admitting new clients for in-hospital treatment on 494 occasions, between June 2013 and January 2016.