The Foundation for Medical Services has applied for a permit to demolish two of the most dangerous wards at the 150-year-old Mount Carmel Hospital and replace them with a therapeutic garden.

The application has so far been given the thumbs up by all the stakeholders who submitted comments in the Planning Authority’s consultation as part of the planning process.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage noted that the wards being demolished are not as old as the rest of the building.

Built in 1861, three-quarters of the ceilings at Attard’s psychiatric hospital have been condemned by architects who ordered that patients be moved to the more secure areas.

Times of Malta reported last year that the foundations of one particular ward had given way and cracks were so wide that rats were sneaking in. Architects had declared rooms in most wards as being unsafe and ordered their immediate closure.

A former senior official told a parliamentary committee last year that patients had been made to endure cold showers in winter because there was no hot water for months on end.

In reaction to the reports, Health Minister Chris Fearne last year announced the government had a five-year renovation plan for the hospital but this was never mentioned again and neither were any details divulged.

It is not clear whether the demolition of male Wards 3A and 3B to make way for the garden is part of this grand renovation plan.

The health ministry would only say that the Foundation for Medical Services has approval to proceed with demolition works in Block 10, from where patients have been relocated. The building has been cleared of all contents.

“Block 10 does not form part of the original Mount Carmel Hospital building and the plan is to have it replaced with a therapeutic garden for patients,” she said.

The application itself contains few details about the project. Block 10 is just outside the hospital’s gates, adjacent to the parking area.

Nurses who work at the hospital welcomed the news that an application had finally been filed, saying a therapeutic garden was badly needed for patients.

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