Brief History of Bellevue
The evolution of mental health services in Jamaica started in 1840’s. The first designated area for the treatment of mental illness was constructed adjoining the present Kingston Public Hospital. The Jamaica Lunatic Asylum came into existence in 1861 at its present location at 16 ½ Windward Road Kingston. The hospital has had many name change and its name was changed from the Jamaica Lunatic Asylum to the Jamaica Mental Hospital in 1938. The name was again changed to the Bellevue Hospital in 1946.
The Bellevue Hospital was established to provide care for mentally ill clients. The establishment of the hospital came out of a petition which was led by a private medical practitioner named Dr. Louis Bowerbank. This led to an enquiry the result of which was the establishment of a mental hospital for the custody and care of the mentally ill. The hospital has had a very rich and colourful history. The hospital has just over seven hundred patients. There are presently twenty three wards; the hospital is divided in acute, sub-acute, psycho-medical, mental subnormal, long stay, psycho geriatric and rehabilitative wards.
Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Health, granted autonomous status to Bellevue Hospital in 2010. A new Board of Management was introduced to provide oversight to the Hospital’s operations including those of the Kenneth Royes Rehabilitation Centre. The Chairman of the Board reports directly to the Minister of Health.
The instrument of authority that legitimizes the Bellevue Hospital Board of Management is Section 21 of the Mental Health Act that established the “Bellevue Hospital Management Scheme, 2013”; published in the Jamaica Gazette, Thursday, March 26, 2013.
The institutions management team is headed by a Chief Executive Officer that reports to the Board of Management and has responsibility for the day to day management of the facility. The recurrent budget for the institution is provided directly from the Ministry of Finance, while capital budget is provided through the Ministry of Health. The institution also benefits from corporate services from the Ministry of Health such as Legal Services, Auditing, Industrial Relations and Project Management.
The following outlines the Bellevue Hospital Management structure (insert org chart)
To be responsible and committed to providing the highest quality psychiatric care, ensuring that medical treatment, nursing and rehabilitative care, is carried out in a clean and safe environment.
- Return individuals to their highest functional levels in the communities in the shortest possible time
- Refer to appropriate agencies
- Facilitate teaching and research in the field
- Provide opportunity for teaching and research in the field
- Provide opportunity for training and career development for our staff
The Bellevue Hospital is viewed as the leading mental health facility in the Caribbean, providing evidence based best practice psychiatric services, equipped with clinical and support services. Employing modern computerized technology, situated in an environment, which promotes and sustains wellness of our clients and staff.
Since the reorganization of the BVH in 2010, there has been a number of significant achievements in the operation of the largest psychiatric institution in the English speaking Caribbean. These improvements have been initiated consistent with the government’s strategic mental health plan, particularly as it relates to de-institutionalization, de-stigmatization and de-centralisation. To this end, the admission and discharge policy of the institution has been modified to ensure that patients are rehabilitated in the shortest possible time, and reintegrated into their communities. Thus, admission of chronic psychiatric patients for long-stay is no longer accommodated.
Other major achievements to date include:
- Psychiatric emergency
- Acute psychiatric and nursing care
- Intermediate psychiatric and nursing care
- Psychological assessment and Interventions
- Social assessment and interventions
- Forensic psychiatric assessment
- Rehabilitative care
- Psychiatric Medical Board