The Ministry of Health Director General, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, visited today the maximum security division at the Sha’ar Menashe mental health hospital.
The Director General met and conversed with the hospital director, Prof. Alex Grinshpon, the medical and care-giving staff members and with the patients on the premises.
In a conversation with the staff members at Sha’ar Menashe, and following his observation of the teamwork, the Director said: “The Ministry of Health backs the work of the medical teams in the Sha’ar Menashe mental health center and in the mental health system as a whole. It was important for me to come, see and hear firsthand the people in the field – the care givers and the patients. I met dedicated, professional and caring people, who perform their work with genuine desire to help the most difficult patients, who may sometimes, due to their illness, even hurt themselves, as well as members of the care giving staff.
It is clear to me that no staff member is eager to isolate or tie down patients, and that the resources allocated to the system in order to minimize these phenomena nowadays, are insufficient.
The media repercussions and the public discourse regarding the restraint of patients in the mental health system pose a public opportunity and duty for us as a system to check ourselves and to get better, an opportunity to see what else can be done and what resources are needed in order to provide a more professional and humane treatment.
The change must take place in cooperation with the teams in the field, since they are the ones that will be able to direct the system and to point out the things that need to be improved, and they are also the ones that will implement and lead it in practice.
At the end of the tour it was decided that Prof. Grinshpon and his staff will conduct a quick staff work with the Mental Health Division in the Ministry of Health, with the aim of implementing programs that will considerably improve the stay in isolation rooms and will enable to shorten the stay there. The Ministry of Health will strive to allocate the required resources for that purpose. All this, in addition to the staff work carried out in the office, regarding limiting of tying and restraints throughout the entire system.