TORONTO, November 30, 2016 - Ontario’s four specialty psychiatric hospitals welcome the Auditor General’s Annual Report released today.
Our four hospitals are striving to provide exemplary care to our patients and we are committed to the highest level of accountability. We have been working collaboratively for the past six years to address the points brought forth in the Report. Our work includes the Mental Health and Addictions Quality Initiative, a Provincial access to care project and implementation of Provincial Quality Standards. We are deeply committed to safe and healthy workplaces and continue to explore new opportunities to enhance staff safety and quality of worklife.
The Auditor General’s Annual Report highlights underfunding of mental health services across Ontario. Historically, mental health care has been separated from the rest of the health care system, left out of wait time strategies and quality improvement standards. The sector has not received the system supports that have been devoted to physical health care. Mental illness receives 7% of health care dollars, yet it accounts for about 10% of the burden of disease in Ontario. Relative to this burden, mental health care in Ontario is underfunded by about $1.5 billion.
Within the mental healthcare system, our four specialty psychiatric hospitals treat Ontarians with the most serious and complex forms of mental illness, including addictions. Demand for our services is increasing. Rising patient volumes has led to delays in service. There is an urgent need to improve access to timely care for these individuals. Access to the right care for our patients can change the trajectory of their lives. In addition, our patients need access to the supportive housing, income support and food security that are required for their recovery and reintegration into their community.
With funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, we are undertaking a Provincial Wait Times Initiative to help us understand the gap in access to care and to gather the evidence needed for a rational and effective investment into mental health care in Ontario. Our isolated efforts are not enough.
We look forward to working together with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the LHINs, and our mental health system partners to address issues that have been identified in the Auditor General’s Report and to advance the measures needed to ensure equitable access to high quality mental health care for the people of Ontario.
Karim Mamdani, President and CEO, Ontario Shores; Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO, CAMH; Carol Lambie, President and CEO, Waypoint; George Weber, President and CEO, The Royal.