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Major setback for Jamaica’s mental-health-care response capability

Published:Monday | November 10, 2014 | 11:26 AM

Jamaica’s mental-health-care response capability has suffered a major setback with what one senior member of the medical fraternity claims is the closure of the detoxification unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies.



The closure means persons suffering from drug/alcohol addiction in need of hospital care will have no public facility to which they can turn.



Consultant psychiatrist Dr Winston De La Haye told The Gleaner/Power 106 News that there is only one other in-patient treatment facility in the public service, the Addiction Services Unit, but it has been closed for the past four weeks.



Describing the issue as major, De La Haye, a former president of the Medical Association of Jamaica, argued there were potentially wide-scale implications.



But reacting to De La Haye’s concerns, chief executive officer at the university hospital, Dr Trevor McCartney, sought to explain that the eight-bed unit at the facility was underutilised.



According to him, the unit has not been closed but rather relocated to a more convenient location.



However, Dr De La Haye says patient numbers fluctuate with admissions traditionally low during periods such as Christmas when there are more expressions of public charity.



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