OTTAWA, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Psychiatric Association is
disappointed that the Wait Time Alliance Report released today
highlights that, for the sixth consecutive year, no progress has been made in publicly releasing wait times for psychiatric
"This is unacceptable given the unmet need among people with mental
illness and the priority that has been placed on access to mental
health services," said Dr. Suzane Renaud, CPA Past-President.
Almost a third of Canadians who seek mental health care report that
their needs are unmet or only partially met. The rate is even higher for children and youth. In Ontario, 60 per cent
of family physicians rank access to psychiatrists as fair to poor.
A few regions across Canada have some objective measures to track access
to psychiatric care but more needs to be done to link available
datasets and develop a common set of indicators to capture how long
Canadians are waiting for access to psychiatric services. "It would
facilitate a 'race to the top' where provinces and territories could
learn from one another and measure their success through directly
comparable indicators," explains Dr. Renaud
The CPA would like to play a constructive role in accelerating the
development, implementation and evaluation of innovative delivery
models to improve access and health outcomes. For example, over the
last 20 years the Hamilton Family Health Team has successfully
integrated psychiatrists and mental health counselors into the
offices—an initiative that has grown to include 150 family physicians.
This has been found to substantially increase the number of people
referred for mental health assessments, reduce waiting times and lead
to more efficient communication and coordination of care.
Although tracking wait times in health is a provincial responsibility,
the federal government, through the Mental Health Commission of Canada
and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, has a role to play
in developing a common approach to measuring access to care.
The Canadian Psychiatric Association would also like to see the federal
government work closely with the provinces and territories to
facilitate the identification and scale-up of proven service delivery
innovations by creating a Mental Health Innovation Fund," says Dr.
The Canadian Psychiatric Association is the national voice for Canada's
4,500 psychiatrists and more than 600 psychiatric residents. Founded in
1951, the CPA is dedicated to promoting an environment that fosters
excellence in the provision of clinical care, education and research.
SOURCE: Canadian Psychiatric Association
For further information:
Canadian Psychiatric Association