The BC Office of the Auditor General released Access to Adult Tertiary Mental Health and Substance Use Services following an audit of B.C.'s mental health services. We coordinated the response to the recommendations on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
The Office of the Auditor General's report, called Access to Adult Tertiary Mental Health and Substance Use Services and released in 2016, focused on how the province has managed access to the bed-based tertiary mental health services that were moved to regional health authorities following the closure of Riverview Hospital. "Tertiary" refers to services that are higher-level than community-based services — they are designed for people with serious mental health and substance use challenges.
The Office of the Auditor General found that the regional health authorities have some good practices, but more needs to be done to make sure that people with serious mental health problems can access the care they need.
Their report outlined recommendations focused on the following:
- Enhancing Ministry of Health stewardship of adult tertiary mental health care
- Enhancing planning to meet patient needs
- Enhancing management of access and flow
- Enhancing public performance reporting
BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services brought together representatives from the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, and the First Nations Health Authority, as well as people with lived experience, to address the audit recommendations. The provincial response work was completed in the fall of 2018, and it was endorsed by the provincial working group assigned to the project.
This work produced the following, which was captured in two reports shared with the Ministry of Health in 2019:
- A tertiary mental health care framework
- Tertiary mental health care standards
- A plan to address provincial waitlists and patient flow challenges
- A performance measurement framework
- Strategies to address the needs of people with multiple and complex needs