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New centre at VGH streamlines care for mental health and substance use clients


Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Coastal Health has opened a new centre to streamline access to mental health and substance use services. The Access and Assessment Centre (AAC) at Vancouver General Hospital will take pressure off emergency departments and provide a central location where clients with mental health and substance use problems can access health care services and information, including an onsite assessment.

“Accessing mental health or substance use services can be stressful and challenging, particularly in moments of great need,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. By streamlining care by positioning the Access and Assessment Centre in the hospital, we’re helping people stay out of the emergency department and limiting their wait.”

VCH anticipates a reduction of approximately 4,000 visits per year to the VGH emergency department as clients get specialized care 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Any adult in Vancouver with mental health and or substance use problems can walk in, or call the support telephone line at (604) 675-3700. Family members can also make inquiries and receive support, while physicians can refer their patients to this service and ambulance and police can bring patients directly to the AAC.

“With the opening of this centre we’re effectively opening a second door into the health care system where issues stemming from mental health and substance use are a priority,” says Dr. Vijay Seethapathy, medical manager at VCH’s AAC.

The Access and Assessment Centre consolidates a number of existing services under one roof, including Acute Home Based Mental Health Treatment, Mental Health Emergency Services (Car 87/88 partnership with Vancouver Police Department) and Vancouver Adult Mental Health Intake Assessment services. New services include self/family referrals, 24/7 phone & walk-in access, and in-depth screening to recommend the best next step for clients. Having one reception, phone and file for patients will lead to more coordinated service and care.

“Our experienced mental health and substance use teams evaluate, assess, and try to resolve the issue being presented whether information, medication, out-patient treatment, or a streamlined route to emergent/ acute care is required,” says Laura Case, Chief Operating Officer Vancouver Community for VCH.

The Access and Assessment Centre is currently located at the Vancouver General Hospital Health Centre, 711 West 12th Avenue. It will move to the new Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre when that facility opens in summer 2017.

VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. 

For media enquiries

Anna Marie D’Angelo
Senior Media Relations Officer                                       
Vancouver Coastal Health
Phone: 604-708-5340
Cell: 604-790-4763

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