Health care provider with client taking notes

The centre will streamline access to mental health and substance use services and create clear pathways to care.

SURREY – Fraser Health is creating a new Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre in Surrey. The centre will streamline access to mental health and substance use services and create clear pathways to care, including community appointments, short-stay community residential stabilization and hospital services, and substance use treatment.

The Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre will be a welcoming, therapeutic environment located on the Surrey Memorial Hospital campus. It will provide rapid access to care by increasing access to psychiatrists, expanding community assessments to 18 hours/day seven days a week, and reducing wait times through same-day appointments. The centre will provide psychiatric assessments and crisis stabilization and support. Substance use clinicians working expanded hours will support people presenting with substance use concerns including accessing rapid induction to opioid agonist treatment (methadone and Suboxone).

“We are committed to reshaping the way that mental health services are delivered in every region across the province,” said Judy Darcy, Minister for Mental Health and Addictions. “Making it easier for people who are struggling with urgent mental health or substance use issues to access services in one place means they can get the support they need faster and start their healing journey sooner.”

The centre will serve as a primary point of contact for people when they require urgent care but do not require hospitalization, eliminating the need for them to go to an emergency department. People can access the centre directly themselves, by referral from their family physician or if they are brought in by police or other first responders. Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Mental Health and Substance Use Zone saw more than 11,000 visits in 2016/17, representing a 16 per cent increase over the previous year. Based upon data, up to 75 per cent of these patients could be better served in the new centre, leaving the Zone available for the most acutely ill individuals.

“With this new centre, people needing mental health care or support with substance use will have one access point to professionals who are specially trained to treat their needs and able to connect them to a host of services,” said Dr. Anson Koo, Regional Department Head and Program Medical Director for Mental Health and Substance Use at Fraser Health. “The service will also better support community physicians and first responders with real-time consultation when people are in crisis.”

In addition to in-person assessments, the specialists at the centre will use technology to provide advice to community physicians and first responders as required, allowing care to begin more quickly and sometimes managing a person’s care needs in the community, making a trip to a hospital unnecessary. The centre will be staffed with a multidisciplinary team comprised of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, substance use clinicians, nurses, social workers, clinical counsellors, mental health care workers, and occupational therapists.

By locating the centre on the Surrey Memorial Hospital campus, the service will be in close proximity to the emergency department and to public transit and patient parking, providing excellent accessibility. Planning is already underway for the new centre with plans to open in summer 2019.

The new centre supports the work of the Ministry of Health and the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to combat the overdose crisis and save lives. The ministry is working with partners across sectors on a wide range of actions – spearheaded by the new provincial Overdose Emergency Response Centre – including increasing access to life-saving naloxone and opioid addiction treatments such as Suboxone, methadone and injectable hydromorphone, opening additional supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites, expanding access to drug checking services and proactively identifying and supporting people at risk of overdose into treatment.

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