The province and Capital District Health Authority have completed 17 of 18 actions to protect public safety and strengthen patient rehabilitation at the East Coast Forensic Hospital.
A year ago, the province released the action items in response to a joint review led by the deputy ministers of Health and Wellness and Justice and the CEO of the health authority after the tragic death of Raymond Taavel.
The response was based on advice of two independent forensic reviewers who looked at whether procedures and practices for community access were adequate, if patient supervision was sufficient, and whether public notification could be improved.
Health and Wellness deputy minister Kevin McNamara reported to partners Wednesday, Sept. 18, that all 15 actions for the Capital District Health Authority and two of the three for the Department of Justice were implemented. The remaining recommendation is to be completed within weeks.
“Nova Scotians should be reassured that there are stronger and more accountable processes in place as a result of the work done over the past year,” Mr. McNamara said. “Over the last year we’ve worked hard with our partners in the health care system to do what we can to prevent such a tragic incident from occurring again.
“There was a collective will to improve any areas that our reviewers found could be strengthened. These changes will further strengthen patient rehabilitation and better protect public safety.”
Justice deputy minister Judith Ferguson said the department has worked hard to improve the system.
“This work has made the system stronger and better for patients,” she said. “The final recommendation for the Criminal Code Review Board to have written procedures is almost complete and will be implemented within one month.”
Some of the 18 actions include:
— requiring community access decisions to consider all risks
— suspending community access leave until a review is conducted after patient did not return on time
— improving documentation, transparency and accountability for community access decisions
— providing an onsite smoking area to end unescorted offsite leaves to smoke
— requiring increased reporting on absent-without-leave incidents
— creating an oversight committee to review decisions about community access before they are granted
A complete list of the actions can be found at http://novascotia.ca/just/review_ECFH.asp.