Health PEI has hired the consulting firm Corpus Sanchez to come back to the province and review the delivery of mental health services out of Hillsborough Hospital.

Richard Wedge - custom

P.E.I.'s health system is seeing more patients with mental problems.

Corpus Sanchez reviewed the province's entire health system in 2008, recommending the creation of Health PEI, and an increased focus on the Island's two main hospitals.

This report will be far more focused, said Health PEI CEO Richard Wedge.

"The overall result is to try and improve care for patients," said Wedge.

"If we can get more patients in, and get them seen sooner, better access to mental health services, get them out living independently on their own, and make sure that if people have mental health issues they get seen in a timely manner and get their life back together."

Wedge says Health PEI needs to develop better mental health programs, because it's seeing more patients with chronic mental health issues.

The $25,000 Corpus Sanchez report will look only at the programs themselves, and not at the Hillsborough Hospital as a facility.

The building itself has come under fire. Last week the province's director of mental health services told the Charlottetown Guardian the Hillsborough Hospital is an antiquated building that doesn't meet the required standards of care. Health Minister Doug Currie told CBC News the building needs to be replaced.

Wedge said the state of the building is an entirely different matter.

"It's starting to age, it's 50 to 60 years old," he said.

"It's not necessarily designed to provide day programs, it's not necessarily designed in a way that is conducive to integrating mental health patients into the regular hospital environment. And a lot of provinces have gotten away from standalone psychiatric facilities and integrated them in with the rest of the hospital population."

Any new hospital is a long way off, with a lot of planning needed and money set aside in the provincial capital budget.

Corpus Sanchez was on P.E.I. last week conducting interviews for its report. Wedge is expecting a draft report in April.