Mount Carmel Hospital is “the safest it has been in 30 years”, according to Health Minister Chris Fearne, who has ruled out the possibility of closing it down despite several of its wards being declared unsafe.
The Times of Malta reported on Thursday several patients had to be relocated after architects declared some wards unsafe and ordered their immediate closure.
Photos showed that some of the wards are in a pitiful state, with beds almost touching each other since patients have been crammed into the safe wards. Metal support jacks are used to hold beams in some wards.
Mr Fearne said that having such support jacks in place actually made the hospital safer, because they supported the eroding wooden beams.
The ministry has ruled out closing it despite several unsafe wards
“The beams have been deteriorating for many years, and as soon as we discovered that there were beams in this state, we immediately installed the jacks and, with them in place, the hospital is the safest it has been in the past 30 years,” he said.
Mr Fearne added that the whole building was being assessed to better determine the extent of the damage. The government would be issuing tenders to for repairs in some areas, where, he insisted, there was “damage, not danger” in these areas.
He said closing down the hospital until the necessary works were carried out was not on the cards. Mr Fearne insisted this was not an option because there was no available place to relocate all the patients.
“You cannot relocate 600 patients at one go,” the minister said, adding, that patients who did not require psychiatric care were being moved to homes for the elderly. Sources told this paper that almost half of the Attard hospital, built in 1861, had been condemned by architects and patients were now being crammed into the few remaining wards.
Confirming that patients were being moved around because some of the wards had been evacuated, Mr Fearne pointed out there were no minor patients in the same wards as adults. Also, patients with acute conditions were not sharing wards with those suffering from chronic ailments.