673 Bellevue Patients Abandoned by Their Families

Eighty-five percent of patients at the Bellevue Hospital no longer require hospitalization, but remain in state care.

That’s one of the main findings of an Auditor General Report into the Ministry of Health’s management of mental health services.

According to the report, 6-hundred and 73 of the 7-hundred and 90 patients at Bellevue have been abandoned by their families.

The Hospital, located on Windward Road in East Kingston, is the island’s main specialist mental health institution.

The AG’s Report says long term hospitalization may be detrimental to the patient’s rehabilitation and could be considered a serious breach of their human rights.

Patients who are found to be stable should be discharged after the maximum six-month period for hospitalization.

But the Auditor General says a sample review of 1-hundred and -7 patients shows that 13 have been institutionalized for over 20 years, and some as long as 35 years.

Another 27 have languished at Bellevue for between 10 and 20 years, while 51 have been there for between one and nine years.

The report says 87 of the patients remain institutionalized despite their records showing they were discharged.

This they say has prevented the hospital from admitting new patients on almost 5-hundred occasions between 2013 and 2016.

The Auditor General says social workers made contact with relatives of 35 patients, but were unsuccessful in re-integrating them in their communities.

The report says this costs the country 1-point-5 million dollars annually per patient.