The Provincial Auditor has presented the first volume of the 2018 Report to the Saskatchewan government.
Judy Ferguson laid out her report Thursday at the Legislature, a report which had a big focus on mental health and addictions treatments.
An audit completed on the former Prince Albert Parkland health region (now amalgamated into the Saskatchewan Health Authority) showed a significant amount of work needs to be done for mental health and addictions services, starting with the demand.
“We found it’s mental health in-patient beds were frequently full,” Ferguson said. “It’s mental health out-patient beds increased 20% over the prior year and it increasing turned away patients seeking detox services.
Ferguson’s report showed many people returning for detox services as soon as within a month, due to the lack of permanent follow-up treatment plan in place. In the former Prince Albert Parkland region, up to 39% of clients didn’t show up for scheduled treatments or appointments.
One of the “positive” initiatives noted by Ferguson undertaken in the region involved the piloting of a new IT system, matching patients needs to appropriate care, which includes internet based therapy option.
However, since Prince Albert is considered to be the gateway to Northern Saskatchewan, NDP critic Carla Beck said there needs to be province wide co-ordinated response for the pilot project to get anywhere.
“Any system that’s built on access to the E-Health, for example, needs to also address the inadequacy of internet service in those communities.”
The report also addressed access to health care for inmates in Saskatchewan’s four adult-secured correctional facilities. It notes those incarcerated should be receiving similar health care to those in the community.