Health authorities and the Ministry of Health have not adequately managed access to mental health care for adults with a long history of hospitalization and substance abuse issues. That from a new report released today by the Office of the B.C. Auditor General.
The report found pockets of good practices, but says the health system as a whole needs to do more to ensure access to specialized services for mentally ill adults with a long history of hospitalization or substance abuse issues.
The audit looked at access tertiary mental health services for adults, the highest level of mental health care and substance use services provided in the province.
A lack of province wide standards, and information about services available are some of the problems outlined in the report. Carol Bellringer, the Auditor General of B.C. says the problems extend after patients leave care.
“These gaps in services are compounded by the lack of available resources for patients ready for discharge, such as appropriate housing and pressures on other parts of the medical system.”
Bellringer adds that the Ministry of Health needs to take on more of a leadership role to help combat these problems.
“We’d like to see the ministry set province wide direction, and enhance collaboration with the health authorities for more consistent access across the province.”
The report does not recommend a one size fits all approach because each health authority faces unique challenges to meet patient needs, but says there needs to be more consistency across the province to ensure fair and equitable access to services