GBGH has a very high volume of mental health patients through our Emergency Department, seeing approximately 1,700 patients annually, and yet, our hospital does not currently operate an acute mental health program. This has become a priority for GBGH to align our services with community needs, especially as there has been a significant increase in mental health visits throughout the COVID pandemic.
North Simcoe has the second longest wait times in the province for a mental health bed. Provincially, 51% of mental health patients wait less than 12 hours for admission. In North Simcoe Muskoka, only 31% of mental health patients wait less than 12 hours, with 28% waiting more than 24 hours. Overall, Simcoe Muskoka is lacking in acute mental health beds based on mental health visits to Emergency departments.
GBGH supports the allocation of additional mental health services to be approved at GBGH for use by our region, as patients can wait in the Emergency department for days to be admitted to an appropriate bed. During this time, their medical needs are being met, but their mental health care is delayed. Addressing medical needs and mental health needs simultaneously is equitable, holistic, patient-centred care.
GBGH is in the process of a Capital Submission to the Ministry of Health to request a comprehensive acute mental health program for our community. The proposed program includes 30 acute inpatient mental health beds, a psychiatric ICU (first of its kind in the region), geriatric mental health services and an outpatient program, bringing vital mental health care closer to home for thousands of patients in our community.
You can help ensure simultaneous mental & physical health care for patients at Georgian Bay General Hospital with a donation today!