The District Psychiatrist: “I would have closed Abarbanel Hospital- today”

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A special tour of the Committee of Distributive Justice at Mayanei Hayeshua, raised awareness to the need of an urgency reform of the psychiatric hospitals quality in Israel.

Chairman of the committee, member of the Knesset Miki Zohar, commented admiringly: “this is not a Psychiatric institute – this is a five star hotel!” The committee called to the Minister of Health to turn this department into a national pilot.   

The Committee of Distributive Justice held a comprehensive tour at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Centre in Bnei Brak. In the tour took part chairman of the committee, Member of the Knesset Miki Zohar, and the members of Knesset Yaakov Asher and Lea Fadida who were surprised from the psychiatric treatment reform the hospital implements. 

“It is a real revolution of tacking off the stigma of mental health problems among the Orthodox community.” Remarked Dr. Uzi Shai, the district psychiatrist in Tel Aviv.  “The field of Mental Health exists in the backyard of the Israeli sociat. It is a population without a voice and Mayanei Hayeshua changed perception within an entire community. You have to tour Abarbanel to understand the huge difference between the two departments.  

During the tour remarked Dr. Shai that he would have closed today Abarbanel Hospital. “It is an Institute operating in very bad conditions. We recommended to the Ministry of Health to close it, but the ignored our recommendations.” In the continuous said Zohar that he too thinks the same and a new mental health hospital has to be opened instead, in the same format as Mayanei Hayeshua’s.  

Prof. Rael Strous, Head of the Psychiatric Wing explained to the committee members that he operates from an approach that every patient is a human being. “That’s why we built the hospital like a hotel. We treat our patients wonderfully and it approves itself. We have no need to use tying.”

Professor Strous recommends that more than 12,000 visits are held in his department. All willingly. “There are Mental Patients hospitalized in different institutes in horrible conditions and we have made a conceptual change. Mental Patients are like all other patients and they deserved being treated in the best conditions in order to recover and return being part of the society.

Member of Knesset Lea Fadida was astonished to hear that more than 600 religious women attended a conference in the subject of Eating Disorders. Professor Strous explained that “we have removed the shame and the stigma accompanies the disease.”     

 Member of Knesset Asher motioned in the end of the visit that the committee members must have think it differently before their visit, as a stereotypical perception about a hospital in a religious city. “I’m sure you imagined something different, but here in the hospital we see a code of sanctity of life and sanctity of patient. It is like being in a hotel.” Fadida admitted: “I never dreamed to see what I saw here. People here are working out of a special sense of mission.”

Shlomo Rothschild, the hospital’s CEO, reinforced Asher’s words: “The patient here is in the centre. Not the illness and not the problem. We are treating all our patients with a warm attitude, so no wonder we won the third time in a row in a satisfaction survey of Ministry of Health patients.” 

Member of Knesset Zohar ended the tour calling the Minister of Health, Yaakov Litzman, to turn the Psychiatric Ward model to a national pilot. “I found this hospital a role model in many parameters. The health revolution that the country has been experiencing in recent years begins with creative people with brains and ambition. The committee plans to apply to the minister to allow Mayanei Hayeshua to add more hospitalization beds in order to give for more patients the extraordinary treatment given in this hospital.” 

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