Malta's mental health strategy targets are being reached ahead of schedule, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Thursday. 

"We're ahead when it comes to the strategy and the plans we have," Fearne said. 

He made his comments at a press conference during the inauguration of a new 50-bed facility that has started welcoming patients from Mount Carmel as part of efforts to relocate patients who do not need to be at the mental health facility. 

The new facility, Casal Nuova, is in Paola. Others patients will be moved there in the coming days. It also has a special unit for those with Huntington's, who up until now have always been treated at Mount Carmel even though they did not have mental health issues. 

"The new facility takes 50 beds and is part of the chain of new services that the government is offering as part of its mental health strategy which was unveiled in July 2019. Innovation is crucial and we want to be on the forefront of providing the most modern services to our patients," Fearne said. 

On Mount Carmel Hospital, which has made headlines in recent years because of the appalling state of the wards there, Fearne said work is underway and renovations are proceeding at a steady pace. 

"A lot of restoration work is being carried out at Mount Carmel. The ward with dangerous beams which made headlines some years ago has been emptied and  will be demolished and turned into a garden," Fearne said. 

In 2017, Times of Malta had revealed several patients had to be relocated from Mount Carmel Hospital after architects declared some wards as being unsafe and ordered their immediate closure. Support jacks had to also be installed to protect beams and ceilings. 


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