A wing of the Mental Health Centre in Glen, when it was re-opened in December 2016. (Photo: Searchlight/FB)

There are two doctors to attend to the 200 patients at the Mental Health Centre (MHC) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Further, these two doctors have to conduct out-patient clinics and care for mental health patients in the prisons and at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

This was revealed by Dr. Karen Providence on Tuesday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, to which she had been summoned.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett issued the summons on Monday after the court had failed to receive reports on three accused persons who had been sent for 14 days’ psychiatric evaluation on April 9, April 30, and May 2.

The magistrate received, on Tuesday morning, the reports which were dated June 15.

Providence, who is registrar at the MHC, initially told the court that “there were challenges” in having the reports prepared.

The magistrate told the doctor that when the court asks for a report to be done in 14 days, the Mental Health Centre should communicate with the court if it is unable to do so.

Providence, who had initially said that she would not like to comment further on the challenges, later had a change of heart.

She noted that the public in SVG and the Vincentian diaspora read the court reports and form opinions based on a lack of information.

The doctor said she would use the opportunity of her court appearance to document some of the challenges that the psychiatric hospital faces.

Dr. Karen Providence, registrar at the Mental Health Centre, arrives on Tuesday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, to which she had been summoned. (iWN photo)

Providence said that one of the challenges is the structure of the organisation, adding that this can be expanded to the health care system in SVG.

She further said that some of the challenges are inter-departmental and scheduling.

The doctor said that the centre knows many of the persons that the Court send to the MHC for evaluation.

The three accused persons whose reports caused Providence to be summoned to the court are known mental health cases, she said.

She, however, told the court that although most persons sent for evaluation are known to the psychiatric hospital, in trying to be fair to all parties, the psychiatric hospital has instituted a system for trying to prepare these reports.

She said that in order to prepare these reports, the MHC is obligated to collect “collateral information” from other sources, adding that everyone saw what “played out earlier this year” — an apparent reference to the Yugge Farrell saga.

Providence said that the MHC staff are not detectives and, therefore, the input of the families of persons sent for evaluation is important.

She said that, in many instances, the centre would make numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact relatives of patients.

The doctor said that the input of relatives of patients is important in verifying certain facts to present to the court.

To illustrate, she said that there was a patient who was making certain claims, including about having a child with a particular person.

As a result of the input of the family, the hospital was able to determine that this claim was part of the delusions brought on by the patient’s mental condition.

She said that in most instances, when a patient comes to the centre for the first time, their relatives are very supportive, but this support declines over time.

The refurbished MHC re-opened in December 2016 with Minister of Health, Sen. Luke Browne, said has internal finishings that excel “some of our most luxurious hotels and resorts”.

It re-opened after two years’ temporary relocation to Orange Hill, without the services of a psychiatrist, a situation that was allowed to continue for four years.

7 replies on “2 doctors to 200 patients at psychiatric hospital”

  1. If these are some of the problems over such an extended period, why haven’t the people responsible done something about it. They obviously knew what the situation is. This is nothing short of blatant ineptitude, and unprofessional. Truly unacceptable in this day and age. Heads need to roll on this one.

    1. The Senator/Minister Luke Brown is to blame. Those in charge there are probably making an effort, even if it is only the best way they know how. However, this set of circumstances makes the hospital staff look unprepared. A good point the doctor made was that concerning the need for expansion of the health care system. Too bad she had to make excuses.

  2. Calliaquaman says:

    Come agian

    Sorry to say what is report here is not whole story.
    What tpye of “collateral ‘ evidents from family needed to give a report to court at the same time saying these persons are known to instritution. It like saying we have knowledge of their mental state.
    Look at time and report was not summited and stop use yuggie saga or it depend who is at the alter.
    You also open opportunity around saga time to bring the Vincentian public the the shortages of Doctors and over work of staffs when the debacle was going in stead use polical tactic hide and seek then being professional in your field.
    Being force to appears before the court also brought the Institution along and I do hope that proper investigation on proper caring of patients which seems from the outside is lacking.

    No family member can give true picture of state of mind they are train in that area.There are s lot of different symptoms .
    The story about lost saga about family verifverific lot girls get pregnant and parents are last to know

    Many go nuts when dad do not wants the public
    To that also sent them insane at the moment too.
    Thanks to faceFace.
    My to cents

  3. Agustus Carr says:

    Do we really have to imprison our mentally ill compatriots? This mental institution functions more like a prison. There needs to be a review into this instution. Our country might be committing some human rights violation. I don’t believe our country has the right approach to deal with mental health issues. This facility is design more like a prison. Psychiatric patients are to handled with care and dignity like every other patient.

    How much of these patients psychiatric illness can be attributed to marijuana use? The answer to this question can assist in implementing early intervention. I know the nurses and doctors do their best. They must be commended for their hard work.

  4. Hello Calliaquaman is that you Camillo? You and your father should be sent there with Luke Brown to take a holiday and it should be renamed the Luke Brown Resort for the ULP Central Committee.

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