April 27, 2007

Canadian Psychiatric Association is Advocating Timely Patient Care

Physician specialty groups in Canada are joining together out of concern that patients in need of prompt care are being subjected to lengthy wait times - in some cases, too long to help. The needed care comes too late. The group formed, called the Wait Time Alliance (WTA) of Canada, is a partnership of specialty associations and the Canadian Medical Association.

Concerned that people with urgent psychiatric care needs, including care for schizophrenia, are not getting timely treatment, the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) has joined the expanded Wait Time Alliance to step up its advocacy for wait time benchmarks in psychiatry.

"Benchmarks establish what is adequate care and this makes it easier to hold the system accountable to patients and their families," says Dr. Manon Charbonneau, President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. "We want the federal government and health ministers to include serious psychiatric illnesses on their priority lists."

More people die by suicide than from motor vehicle accidents. Most people who die by suicide have some history of psychiatric illness - and those who die by suicide are disproportionately young. We also know untreated depression is the greatest cause of disability in women of working age. "The tragedy is that too often such illnesses do not get treatment in time to prevent these horrible consequences," says Dr. Charbonneau. CPA published wait time benchmarks for patients with serious psychiatric illnesses last March. Timely access to psychiatric health services is critical for the 20 per cent of Canadians who will need mental health services in their lifetime.


The Wait Time Alliance of Canada (WTA) is a partnership of specialty associations and the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) is the national voice for Canada's 4,100 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
View CPA policy paper on wait time benchmarks


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