Health basket committee 370.
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Health Ministry director general Prof. Ronni Gamzu ordered the official closure
on Wednesday of Petah Tikva’s Neveh Ya’acov private psychiatric hospital
following an investigation by a committee of experts among reports of staff
violence and abuse against residents.
In addition, Gamzu said that the
two remaining private institutions for psychiatric and mentally disabled
patients – Ilanit and Neveh Shalva – would also be shut down.
year, police arrested over 70 staffers from Neveh Ya’acov for allegedly abusing
inmates over several years. The suspects were accused of having committed sexual
offenses and to have beaten and tied to beds some of its 160 patients, whose
ages ranged from 20 to 70.
The Health Ministry assumed temporary
responsibility for running the institution while police investigate the matter
and then transferred the patients to public psychiatric institutions.
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon, who had originally exposed complaints from family members
about conditions in the Petah Tikva institution, said Wednesday after reading
the ministry report that it and its conclusions offered “little consolation,” as
the ministry had acted with much delay, ignoring the abuse and severe neglect
that had been going on for years at the veteran facility.
months after the story broke, indictments had not been issued against those
involved in the scandal, Gilon said.
The MK demanded that standards be
set immediately for employing auxiliary staff in psychiatric institutions and
rigorous supervision and control. Most of the patients had to be transferred to
outpatient facilities in the community instead of living in the hospital, he
Gilon charged that patients were kept at the low-standard private
psychiatric institutions to save money for the ministry.
report found a lack of coordination between the ministry’s mental health branch
and the District Health Office and accepting low standards of operations and
The committee called for shutting down “closed wards” in
private psychiatric hospitals, establishing wards with expertise in treating
patients with combined problems of psychiatric and mental disability and
defining more suitable frameworks for patients in the community for their
treatment and rehabilitation.
Health Minister Yael German said she read
the report “with much concern” and was upset by the “red warning lights” that
are apparently from it. Until now, the state has not given the necessary
attention and resources to treat psychiatric patients, a population whose voices
are not heard, she said.