Health Ministry approves more beds for mental wards, but only if gender based separation is implemented. Experts see both positive and negative sides to decision while ministry believes "professional sources support gender based separation.'"
More beds for mental hospitals – in gender separated wards
Health Ministry approves more beds for mental wards, but only if gender based separation is implemented. Experts see both positive and negative sides to decision while ministry believes 'professional sources support gender based separation'
Mickey Peled • Calcalist
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman is beginning to implement his policy for establishing separate wards for men and women in mental health hospitals.
Calcalist discovered that Director-General of the Health Ministry Dr. Roni Gamzo has approved 20 additional beds for the Hadassah Medical Center psychiatric admittances, on the condition that a ward with gender based separation is established.
This addition would double the number of psychiatric ward beds (for adults) in the Hadassah medical center, as today the ward is at 100% capacity. The funding of a few million NIS annually – will be supplied by the hospital itself.
'Patients values violated'
In the first few months of his term as deputy health minister, Litzman toured the psychiatric wards for the first time 18 months ago. He stated that in addition to the major infrastructural neglect in these hospitals, he met with cases where patients, mainly from the haredi public, spent the day together with male patients; a thing which he claimed led to situations where the women's values and way of life were violated.
Similarly to general hospitals, most mental facilities don't have gender based separation during the daytime, and the separation is only in the rooms themselves. If Litzman's plan is realized, the separation would be extended to the daytime hours as well.
The Health ministry claims that the reason for separation is professional, in order to improve patient care.
Yet a mental health specialist working at one of the facilities told Calcalist that "these days, most experts believe that there shouldn't be separation, as patients staying in these facilities should be able to experience day to day life in which men and women interact, as much as possible.
"Many studies actually show that in cases of gender based separation, patients, both men and women, are more violent." On the other hand, Hadassah officials said that in acute psychiatric cases, gender based separation is necessary.
Around 21 thousand people were admitted to psychiatric facilities in 2009, in 78.7% of the cases, it was a repeat visit.
Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital stated that "we are examining various ways to increase the number of beds, including adding beds in gender separated wards.
"The issue was raised by the Health Ministry and the need for gender based separation beds is acceptable to the medical staff in the psychiatric ward, subject to the continued operation of the existing psychiatric ward where there is no separation."
The Health ministry also stated that "professional sources have supported gender based separation in locations throughout the country as a way to advance the nature of the care at psychiatric facilities.
"The Health Ministry's director general invites the reporter to tour the wards in order to understand what gender based separation would do for the patients."