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Local hospitals, police launch Grey Bruce Hospital Transition Protocols


October 15, 2020
By The Canadian Press

GREY-BRUCE — When someone is apprehended under the Mental Health Act, there has long been a question of who is responsible for what aspect of the person’s care.

As of September 2020, an agreement between hospital partners, and the OPP and police services in Grey-Bruce has been reached regarding new transition protocols for individuals apprehended by police under the Mental Health Act.

As stated in a press release issued Friday, Oct. 9, this is a joint agreement detailing improved processes for police, first responders, and health care professionals when they are called upon to engage with and support individuals experiencing a mental health crisis in our communities. This initiative has been in progress since May 2020.

It is the product of a collaborative effort by the Grey Bruce Police/Hospital/Stakeholder Partnership Committee. The committee’s goal has been to develop a system of protocols tailored to the organizational resources and needs of their community members, ensuring the safety and care for all individuals involved.

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A list of the community partners includes Bruce County Paramedic Services, Grey Bruce Canadian Mental Health Association, Grey Bruce Health Services, Grey County Paramedic Services, Grey Bruce OPP, Hanover and District Hospital, Hanover Police Services, Owen Sound Police Services, Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation Police, Saugeen Shores Police, South Bruce Grey Health Centre, South Bruce OPP, and West Grey Police Services.

The education for the application of these new protocols is currently being conducted virtually for police and health care professionals. “I am confident that this consistent, cohesive approach to forging a multifaceted partnership will result in improved communication, health and safety for members of our local community,” said Inspector Krista Miller, detachment commander of the South Bruce OPP and co-chair of the Grey Bruce Police/Hospital/Stakeholder Partnership Committee.

There have been very positive reactions and hope for the success of this new partnership, and its ability to help some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Dana Howes, president and CEO of Hanover District Hospital and the other co-chair of the Grey Bruce Police/Hospital/Stakeholder Partnership Committee, described the partnership as “a phenomenal collaborative leadership effort to develop this regional approach to establishing a comprehensive protocol between police forces and hospitals in the care of patients that have been apprehended under the Mental Health Act.”

Michael Barrett, CEO of South Bruce Grey Health Centre, said, “Police and hospitals see people at some of the most vulnerable moments in their lives. We need to ensure we transition people smoothly between police and hospital care during these challenging times to ensure the safety of both the patient and our staff – we believe that this agreement provides a strong foundation for a smoother transition.”

-Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

The Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020