February 16, 2016 6:38 pm

Alberta’s mental health, addictions report delayed for third time

FILE: David Swann.

Global News

A report on the province’s addiction and mental health system from Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann has been delayed a third time, Global News has learned.

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First requested in June 2015, the Mental Health Review was originally set to be released at the end of January. Last week, Swann told Global News it would be released on Feb. 17, after it was pushed back a week to allow time after the auditor general’s report.

Swann said he wants to see the report made public as soon as possible, but “understands the delays.”

“The report is clear that Alberta’s health delivery system is in need of some significant changes and this government needs a little bit of time to prepare themselves,” Swann said. “It is far more important to get this right than to rush – a week or two will not make much of a difference in the long run.”

In past interviews, Swann has said Alberta’s system is “very overstretched” and that resources “don’t have the capacity” to deal with issues like mental health support. In December, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said she’d be monitoring the report closely, and suggested “we’re not going to wait until the next budget cycle to get more resources into the hands of community members.”

READ MORE: Alberta suicide rate up 30%, province looking for answers

Hoffman said Tuesday the report applies to Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health, along with many other stakeholders—and so it will take time to thoroughly review.

“We owe it to patients and caregivers to make sure we take the necessary time to review the recommendations, consult with our colleagues across government and determine how we can use the committee’s findings to improve our mental health system for Albertans, while continuing to work to improve the long-term fiscal sustainability of the health care system,” Hoffman said. “The report and our response will be public soon.”

With files from Global’s Heather Yourex-West

© 2016 Shaw Media

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