The Saskatchewan Health Authority is pleased to announce that on Tuesday February 16th, the Prince Albert Child and Youth Inpatient Unit in Victoria Hospital began a phased service resumption. The first phase will involve the re-opening of up to five inpatient beds.
“We are very pleased that children and youth will have better access to the help they need, with the reintroduction of child psychiatry services in Prince Albert,” said the Honourable Everett Hindley, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health. “This important step supports our collective efforts to improve and expand mental health services for young people and for all residents of our province.”
The service slowdown happened in mid-June as a result of both the sudden passing of a long-time child and youth psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Zulfiquar Hussain and the retirement of another local psychiatrist. The SHA undertook a joint recruitment and operational review strategy to re-evaluate the service and determine how to achieve successful recruitment and long-term sustainability. In the interim, the child and youth inpatient unit at Victoria Hospital was temporarily closed to admissions with patients and families referred to Saskatoon for care.
“We are thankful to our Saskatoon colleagues for their support over the recent months and the numerous partners with in our community who worked closely with us during this transition,” said Jennifer Suchorab, SHA’s Director of Mental Health and Addiction, Northeast. “Together with our partners, we have shown that Prince Albert and area has a great working collaboration with other services to children and youth and that this is a great city to come to with a plethora of opportunities.”
The Prince Albert psychiatry team has welcomed Dr. Randy Zbuk who brings over 10 years of experience in the area of Child and Youth Psychiatry with a strong interest in inpatient services and a passion for growing the field of psychiatry.
“With Dr. Zbuk and the continued support of the Prince Albert adult psychiatry and Saskatoon Child and Youth Psychiatry teams, we are returning to the full continuum of child and youth psychiatry services in the Prince Albert area,” said Suchorab.
Recruitment efforts continue for the PA area for additional child and youth psychiatry resources. The determination for increasing service and bed capacity within the unit will be done through an ongoing evaluation process.
With the unit’s phased service resumption, there is no change to the referral process to Prince Albert community based child and youth psychiatry services. Physicians and nurse practitioners should continue to refer child and youth to the Prince Albert Child and Youth Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic.