Ontario's mental health care evaluated

For the first time, Ontario hospitals have common information to help assess the quality of in-patient mental health care, with the release of a new Hospital Report by the University of Toronto-based Hospital Report Research Collaborative.

Hospital Report 2004: Mental Health is part of an ongoing series of reports on hospital care funded by the Ontario government and the Ontario Hospital Association. The researchers compiled the report after analysing data from a variety of sources.

"Including mental health in the hospital report series is a big step forward in acknowledging the treatment needs of those with mental illness," says Dr. Elizabeth Lin, who led the research team along with U of T Department of Psychiatry colleague Dr. Janet Durbin.

The report examines the overall performance of 11 psychiatric hospitals and 45 acute-care facilities in all five regions of Ontario: the north, the east, the Greater Toronto Area, the south and the southwest. In total, these facilities provide almost 1.5 million days of psychiatric care, about 25 per cent of the total days of hospital care provided in Ontario. The results are reported by region, not by individual hospital; the next mental health report in the series, slated for 2007, will provide performance data for individual hospitals.

"The introduction of this first-of-its-kind report on mental health is a positive step forward in enhancing these services across the province," says Hilary Short, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association. "This report demonstrates yet another way Ontario hospitals are working with the government to lead accountability in the country."

"Overall, the news is good," agrees George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "The findings in this report indicate that for the most part patients are receiving quality mental health care. But there is always room for improvement, particularly in the area of mental illness, which for t

Contact: Elaine Smith
University of Toronto

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