Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Loss of Psychiatric Beds on Vancouver Island

From the Nanaimo Daily News in Canada:

"VIHA said they had to shut the [psychiatric] unit for as long as a year because they cannot find a replacement for a departing psychiatrist. It's hard to believe that VIHA has allowed itself to end up in this position.

In fact, Alberni-Qualicum MLA Scott Fraser is right when he says, "It's not acceptable . . . . It's not an option. You cannot shut down essential services."

To add to Fraser's incredulity, closing a mental health ward approaches irresponsible if not outright negligent.

VIHA might argue they have no control over the comings and goings of doctors, but it's pretty hard to believe that they did not or could not foresee this long enough ago to take appropriate action.

Either way, the fact that they could not negotiate to have the current psychiatrist remain until a replacement could be found, or that they were caught by surprise, indicates something is wrong within VIHA.

What this also seems to indicate is that the health authority has little regard for those in need of mental health care."

This story says a lot about the way many hospitals view psychiatric treatment... as a community service that is somehow "optional."