East End mental health facility aims for March 2023 opening
Efforts to complete a long-term residential mental health facility in East End are back on track, after a year-long delay caused by COVID-19.
Cayman Islands Mental Health Commission chairman Dr. Marc Lockhart told the Cayman Compass the jurisdiction’s fight against the coronavirus resulted in a shift in government’s priorities and a reallocation of medical personnel and services.
The result, said Lockhart, is a potential delay to the opening of the facility until March 2023, though it is possible that it may be completed sooner. The initial projected finish date was 15 months earlier, in December 2021.
“The focus of the government… and those of us in the medical sector, had to pivot with COVID and change our actual physical structure in terms of having the availability of beds and other things if we had needed that, as things ramped up,” said Lockhart.
When completed, the $15 million, 15-acre facility will comprise nine cottages – each of which can house up to six people. The groundbreaking took place in October 2019 after extensive delays and obstacles.
In addition to the shift in focus due to COVID, Lockhart said people across the medical field were deployed in a number of capacities to staff various vaccine drives, which further hampered efforts to open the facility.
“Another way that it affected the opening of the centre is that for two significant portions of time last year and the year before we had workers who were positive on the job site and we had to close it down,” he said.
Along with staffing issues, a global shortage of products coupled with massive shipping delays further hampered work on the project.
However, these issues have since been resolved and, barring any unforeseen delays, Lockhart said the project should be finished within the newly adjusted timeline.
“The good news is that we are about 75% of the way complete,” he said. “Now we have started working on the staffing of the facility, and we are in the process of getting those descriptions out.”
Source: Cayman Compass