TORONTO, ON. Today, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) announced that it will immediately implement a series of measures to protect public safety, while improving care and recovery for forensic patients.
CAMH has accepted all recommendations made by an external review panel. “CAMH is part of an international network of leaders in forensic mental health and we are proud to be leading the way internationally in the reintegration of our patients back into community. As Canada’s leading mental health academic health sciences centre, we are always looking for innovative ways to enhance the world-class care that all patients at CAMH deserve and expect,” said Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH. “I would like to thank the Chair of the external review, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, and the entire panel of leading mental health experts for their work and for providing us with twelve specific recommendations we will act on to improve care.”
The external review panel, which was launched by CAMH this past summer, was comprised of six mental health, health policy and safety experts who were tasked with examining the policies, processes and procedures under the forensic pass program and compiling recommendations aimed at improving the safety of both patients and the public.
“Our report recognizes the steps CAMH has taken towards maintaining the right balance between high quality patient care and community safety. We have made a number of recommendations focused on improving both patient recovery and community safety,” said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Chair of the external review. “Although the risk of unauthorized leaves by patients will persist, our recommendations should help maximize patients’ return to their communities and community safety.”
CAMH will move quickly on all of the recommendations, specifically the need for physical redevelopments and infrastructure improvements, to improve security of facilities, while continuing to provide the best care for patients. The panel highlighted the need for more formalized communications with Toronto Police Services, more advanced information management, and enhancements to patient programming.
“In anticipation of the report, over the past six months, leadership and staff at CAMH have already implemented measures to improve our processes,” continued Dr. Zahn. “We know that the community and our partners expected us to take swift action to restore their trust in our ability to balance protecting public safety and supporting patient recovery—I’m confident the recommendations will enhance our ability to do that.”
In addition to continuing to make improvements already underway, implementation of the recommendations will begin in the new year. CAMH will work closely with the provincial government on a plan that ensures CAMH remains one of North America’s leading mental health hospitals.