BC Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and the Northern Health Authority will accept the Premier’s Partnership Award for their collaborative work on the Telehealth Outreach Psychiatry Service (TOPS). The announcement was made on September 22, with a formal ceremony to follow in October.
Established in 2011, TOPS provides psychiatric consults to 16 communities in northern BC by connecting a psychiatrist located in Vancouver to a remote Child and Youth Mental Health team, via telehealth (videoconferencing) technology. The service is accessed by children, youth and their families, when mental health concerns indicate the need for more psychiatric involvement.
Through TOPS children and youth in under-serviced rural communities have increased access to psychiatry services, including earlier diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues. The service has also improved support and management for child and youth mental health clinicians in complex cases by providing ongoing case consultation as well as more immediate psychiatric assessments.
As a result of this telehealth service, children and their families can receive the care they need, while staying in their home communities. This means families face fewer burdens including reduced travel costs and time away from work and school. It also means they can stay closer connected to their families and community support networks. These connections are often vital in helping families and their children through very difficult times. The service also supports clinicians in sharing new knowledge and best practices in health promotion, prevention and treatment - further building the capacity of healthcare providers.
The Premier’s Partnership Award recognizes initiatives between BC Public Service organizations and organizations in the broader public sector, other levels of government, First Nations communities, or in the private or not-for-profit sectors. The annual provincial awards ceremony is the BC Public Service’s highest recognition event acknowledging achievements in all areas of public service including cross-government integrations, emerging leadership, innovation, partnership and service excellence.