Ombudsman for Administration and Human rights Maria Stylianou-Lottides said that the infrastructure at the Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital requires improvement while under current conditions the hospital is unfit to house patients in a report released on Wednesday.
The ombudsman’s intervention was prompted by recent reports circulated in the media revealing egregious conditions at the hospital as well as complaints submitted directly to her office.
The building housing the hospital dates back to 1964, and the ombudsman welcomed the recent announcement by the competent ministries that reparation/renovation works are due to begin imminently.
Lottides’ report — that was issued in her office’s capacity to prevent torture — advised that inmates should be treated in an environment that would positively contribute to their mental state, therefore interior decoration should be modified accordingly.
She also called for the urgent hiring of a pathologist, the training of staff to ensure a dignified working environment, and to secure the right of patients for daily outdoor exercise unless their condition forbids it.
The latest visit to Athalassa Hospital by members of the ombudsman’s office revealed that the hospital is at maximum capacity, currently housing 101 inmates.
Patients are aged 35-45 years and the average period of hospitalisation is one and a half month.
The number of admitted cases at Athalassa hospital has increased by 42% in 2019 compared to 2018. In 2019 Athalassa hospital treated 889 people, and in 2020 counts more than two admissions a day.