Little offer of continued mental health care

By Kim Schiffmann, in News · 30-12-2019 08:00:00 · 0 Comments

Insufficient response to continued mental health care requires a high number of patients to stay in hospital, according to a study, which argues that it is urgent to expand the offer to respond to patients and families.

"Despite the successful reorganization of the mental health hospital network, the inadequate response of a continuing mental health care network still maintains a high number of long-term inpatients," says the National Health Council (CNS) study entitled “No More Time to Lose: Mental Health in Portugal - A Challenge for the Next Decade”.

For the study's authors, the provision of continuing mental health care is still "very insufficient in the face of existing needs, and very asymmetric, and it is urgent to expand the number of places to respond to patients and their families."

According to the document, to which Lusa agency had access, the integration of psychiatric assistance in the Mental Health Services of the Western Hospital Centre, Professor Fernando da Fonseca Hospital, the Middle Ave Hospital Centre and the Between the Douro and Vouga Hospital Centre has yet to be completed.

When this happens "it will be time to reorganize the space and resources of the three psychiatric hospitals so that, in liaison with the Ministry of Justice, accelerate the reorganization of the inmate units."

The study marks the “positive steps” taken recently with the opening of new beds in Lisbon and Porto, but says it is urgent to requalify the Coimbra unit, and to make more places available to those outside the prisons.”

On the other hand, the planned creation this year of community mental health teams in each health region “has not become a reality”.

Added to this is the asymmetrical distribution of mental health professionals, which limits, for example, the establishment of health teams.

In Portugal, psychiatric disorders have a prevalence of 22.9 percent, placing the country in a “worrying second place” among European countries. Depression affects 10 percent of the Portuguese and, in 2017, suicide accounted for 14,628 potential years of life lost.

In addition, dementia assumes a frequency of 20.8 per 1000 inhabitants, which places Portugal in 4th place among OECD countries.

Psychotropic drugs accounted for 11.3 million CHNM units in hospitals [corresponding to the unit amount of each drug: number of pills, syringes, vials] in National Health Service hospitals in 2018, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to 2017.


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