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A new health service provider lacked a policy

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Developing fair policies and practices prior to administrative changes can prevent problems from reoccurring.

Ray was in the midst of pre-release planning from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre (NFPC). He was concerned that the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) hadn’t provided him with a community transition of Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) in the form of methadone for this release. This meant that Ray would be responsible to pay for the OAT program but he lacked the funds to do so. Not only did Ray feel it was unfair for him to be denied a key transition service, he also felt like he was being placed in a very vulnerable position. He called us to help.

The PHSA informed us that while he remained at the centre, they had written a re-order to continue Ray’s methadone prescription for 28 days after his release. However, a nurse missed his discharge date and the community transition did not occur. If this error had not occurred, a post-release prescription would have been written and sent to a pharmacy of Ray’s choosing.

At the time of Ray’s release, the PHSA had just become responsible for administering healthcare services in BC correctional centres. As a result, the PHSA lacked a formal policy on how to deal with situations like Ray’s and the lack of policy resulted in the nurse’s error. As a result of Ray’s complaint and our investigation, the PHSA developed and implemented new policies to prevent similar situations from arising in the future.

This, however, was of no help to Ray personally. We asked the PHSA to write and apologize for its error, explain what happened and the steps they had taken
to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. The PHSA agreed.

Ray’s complaint led the PHSA to focus its attention on this matter and assisted in the improvement of procedures benefiting inmates across British Columbia.

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