The Times today published elsewhere in this edition, a story about the release of the about 300 psychiatric patients by the authorities of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital as part of efforts to cut down on spending at the hospital.
The release of the patients is one of the ways that the hospital authorities have adopted to draw attention to the challenges facing the hospital.
Already, nurses at the hospital on Monday, stayed away from their area work, which they described as “dangerous working environment”.
They had complained about the shortage of basic logistics such as gloves, dressing solution, face masks, plaster, cotton, gauze, detergents and medication among others.
The nurses said their action was to avoid the patients who become aggressive and relapse if they are not given medication.
The fruitless efforts by the hospital to get solution for their complaints dates back several months and challenges compelled management to discharge the patients.
The Times share the frustration of both management and nurses of the hospital who work under very difficult situations to take care of the vulnerable in the society.
In fact, the hospital authorities has for the past several months, drawn attention to their plight including the threat of industrial action and yet has not received the necessary response culminating in the discharge of the patients while nurses have abandoned their work.
It is disturbing that in spite of the efforts to grant psychiatric hospitals autonomy under the new Mental Health Law, the sector continues to be under-funded and face logistical challenges.
The daunting challenge facing mental health could in the near future worsen and unless the government steps in, the hospital might be forced to shut down completely.
No doubt no one wants the hospital to close down and discontinue to provide services to mental patients who would roam the streets and become a threat to society.
The danger these patients pose to society need not be emphasised. It is therefore, very critical that the country pays attention to mental health with all the seriousness it deserves.
We appeal to the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, to as a matter of urgency, go to the aid of the Psychiatric Hospital to save it from eminent collapse.
It must not be forgotten that the Psychiatrist Hospital serves as both a health and rehabilitation centre and, therefore, provides services that many health centres cannot offer.
We must therefore, not turn a blind eye to the challenges facing the foremost psychiatric hospital in the country and save it now!