Special Report on Privatization of Mental Health Institutions in Georgia, Evaluation, Conclusions and Recommendations for Government of Georgia
On June 23, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia presented the Special Report on Privatization of Mental Health Institutions in Georgia, Evaluation, Conclusions and Recommendations for the Government of Georgia, together with the international organization Global Initiative in Psychiatry – Tbilisi.
During carrying out a survey for the special report, Georgian and foreign experts studied the documents of the Naneishvili National Mental Health Center and the Khelvachauri Mental Health Center and the issues related to their privatization.
As the survey showed, the objectives of privatization and its consequences in the implementation of the national mental health concept and strategy were vague. The privatization process is being implemented hastily, without consultation with stakeholders. At the same time, no open competition has been announced; no required qualifications or experience of a potential investor have been defined in advance. The privatization of the institutions does not have a uniform format and does not provide a clear picture of long-term planning of service and its financial stability. The business model of the investor remains unclear as well.
The Public Defender considers that clearly established standards concerning the quality of service, safety of patients and aspects of human rights should be provided in the privatization process. The Public Defender's recommendation is the state monitoring body composed of qualified persons to conduct regular inspections; the performance quality should be monitored in all state and private hospitals in the same way and under equal conditions. Special attention should be paid to judicial psychiatry and forced treatment units, and at least one more institution should be opened in order to avoid monopoly.
Professional knowledge and skills of clinical personnel should be checked and their qualifications should be improved if necessary. In the rehabilitation process, it is necessary to involve patients in various activities in parallel with medicinal treatment.
The institutions’ working principles should be transparent, as well as information about the owner and business plans. The services provided should fully meet the financial and clinical standards.
The recommendation section of the survey emphasizes that a detailed list of requirements should be defined in the process of privatization and sanctions should be specified, which will be imposed in case of incompliance with the requirements. Additionally, adequate forms of control should be developed, including public and patients’ councils, and the mechanism for filing complaints should be provided in case of violation of the patients' rights.