While the recommendations in the Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) report focus largely on improving reporting systems, we recognize and accept that the core of the findings is to immediately improve the care provided to Indigenous people in correctional facilities.
We thank the OAG for the report and are committed to making improvements and addressing the recommendations. While BCMHSUS will report back to the OAG on our progress, we can confirm that a work plan is in place to address the four main recommendations from the OAG. We will undertake immediately targeted actions to improve the care and services for Indigenous peoples with mental health and/or substance use needs in provincial correctional centres. Many actions are already in progress and we expect the majority will be initiated or complete by June 2023.
Among those actions, PHSA will establish a clinical standard where all clients, individuals in custody and/or patients are asked, in a culturally appropriate way, if they identify as Indigenous. From that information, we will upgrade the current clinical information system to ensure reports are generated to track screening, assessments, care planning, services and discharge planning for Indigenous clients.
Further, standardized care plans and discharge plans are being created provincially and we will ensure that Indigenous client files are consistently reviewed, updating our workflow processes to ensure this occurs.
We acknowledge that the work ahead must be informed by Indigenous experience and perspectives. To this end, BCMHSUS is committed to taking steps to build Indigenous leadership in our program and has created positions that will play a key role in supporting the OAG’s recommendations.
BCMHSUS recently hired a Director, Indigenous Health. We’ve also created five Indigenous Patient Navigator roles as part of the Community Transition Team (CTT) expansion. BCMHSUS has also established an Indigenous Steering Committee with representation from BCMHSUS leadership, Indigenous Health at PHSA, and our Indigenous patient partners. This committee will help drive decision making in the planning and delivery of care, and will also monitor progress in our work to ensure we address systemic inequalities and are best serving our Indigenous patients adequately.
- Dr. Vijay Seethapathy, Chief Medical Officer, and Jennifer Duff, Chief Operating Officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services