It is the most anticipated and important project in Mental health of the last two decades: the Acute Unit for serious psychiatric patients foreseen in the Costa del Sol Hospital. The Ministry of Health expects it to come into operation next year. “In early or mid-2023,” estimates the delegate, charles bautista, which highlights the improvements in infrastructure and Mental Health personnel made by the Andalusian Government in the province in this legislature that is ending. The list includes the Eating Disorders Unit (UTCA) –inaugurated last March and which is the first in Andalusia–, the Mental Health consultations in El Boquetillo (Fuengirola), those of the Antequera Hospitalthose of the Day Hospital of the county of the Serranía and those of Velez Sur Health Center. In total, the regional administration puts the investments in this healthcare area at about two million euros and in more than 150 professionals the increase in staff.
Bautista –unlike family members of mental patients who see the glass as half empty and complain about the shortcomings– sees the glass as half full for the work done in these almost four years in Mental Health devices: “Is it enough? No. Resources are still lacking, but we received infrastructure that was a real disaster; third world. In little more than three years and with a pandemic, we have turned it around ”, he maintains. Furthermore, he lists other projects already underway –such as the improvement of the Psychiatry area of the Maritime– or that will be undertaken in the next legislature – as a center in Estepona wave Child-Youth Unit at the Guadalmedina Centernext to Civil.
The works of the Costa del Sol Treble Unit –which are linked to the expansion of that hospital and were unblocked together with that project– began last September. They have an execution period of 18 months, so the forecast is that they can be operational by mid-2023 at the latest. “The works are advancing fast”, confirms the delegate. The unit will add 20 beds in single rooms for psychiatric admissions. Among them there will be some specific for isolation and others for judicial use. They measure 18 square meters and will have a separate toilet. In total, they will occupy 1,400 square meters. Until now, that densely populated part of the province lacks an Acute Mental Health Unit, which recharges the Clinic, which is your reference hospital. In addition, this device will have a Day Hospital for monitoring patients, which will prevent admissions since after assistance, they will return to their homes. Both the Acute Care Unit and its Day Hospital will be newly created infrastructures.
What is already in operation is the Eating Disorders Unit (UTCA). The first created in Andalusia is located in the Guadalmedina Center, in the Civil area, after the mental patients without resources who were staying there were relocated to San Juan de Dios. Bautista maintains that before the opening of the UTCA, patients with eating disorders, most of them adolescents, had to be transferred “to Ciudad Real or be next to a schizophrenic or a psychotic, in a double room.” The delegate replicates the criticism from the socialist ranks that the PP has not designed any project and that everything was already planned by them: “For 15 years they were thinking about the third hospital and not even the functional plan they left worked; It had to be redone.”
The UTCA occupies half of the Guadalmedina Center. In the other part of the building will be the area of Child-Adolescent Mental Health which, according to the Delegation, will open there in 2023. It will have a therapeutic community, therapy rooms and beds for children and adolescents. Its budget amounts to 1,212,552 euros and the start of the work is imminent. “It will start this summer or in the fall and will end next year,” Bautista calculates.
Also facing the next legislature there is a portfolio Mental Health center in Estepona. The Delegation has negotiated with the City Council the transfer of the Casa del Mar to locate it there, together with a health center.
What is already in operation for more than a year they are the outpatient clinics in El Boquetillo, in the old market. The facilities allow adults and adolescents to occupy differentiated spaces. “The investment has been about 800,000 euros and has meant a significant effort,” says the delegate.
In matters of staffassured that at the beginning of the legislature the Regional had 29 psychiatrists and now there are 40, that in the Clinic there has been a 9% increase in the workforce and that in June alone nine professionals have joined, that the Vélez consultations total four clinical psychologists and a social worker and that the hiring of a psychiatrist and two psychologists for the Suicide Prevention Unit is already authorized, although there is no stock market.
What conclusion, the delegate maintains: “I see the glass as half full. In fact, the first work of the legislature was the El Boquetillo Mental Health Center because we had clear priorities. We have a huge number of projects underway; instead, the socialists left the drawers empty”.