Island Health withdraws request for addiction services provider

NANAIMO – Health authority plans to re-issue proposal request.

Island Health intends to fill a gap in services for addicted women but hasn’t found the right provider, a spokeswoman says.

The health authority has withdrawn its request for proposal for a five to six bed supportive recovery service, claiming the two proponents didn’t meet the criteria.

But there are plans to try again, according to Keva Glynn, Island Health’s director for strategic and tertiary mental health and substance-use services, who said they are interested in working with area stakeholders to find a successful proponent and adding to what’s offered in Nanaimo.

Island Health originally sought to establish a new supportive recovery service, where women struggling with addictions would be able to stay an average three months in a communal living environment and participate in day programs.

Now it’s interested in having a provider also offer stabilization beds where recovering addicts can go immediately following detox.

According to Glynn, it’s best practice for one provider to offer two services along the recovery continuum, and with the province looking to add 500 new substance use beds the organization sees an opportunity to address another gap in Nanaimo.

“I think we are going to see really positive improvements in central Island and across the Island,” she said. “The intention is there, the funding has been dedicated to it, so it’s just a matter of figuring out the right process so that we can get it all in place.”

Island Health announced it would create new beds to help women fight addiction in central Island last December. Currently all 11 supportive recovery spaces for central Island are designated for men. Women looking for the same kind of aid have to go up Island or to Victoria.

Michelle Authier, a member of the executive team for Island Crisis Care Society, previously a proponent for supportive recovery services, is happy to hear an RFP will go out again.

Even if the organization doesn’t get the contract, “we just want to see that service back in Nanaimo so we have somewhere to refer the women to,” said Authier, who has seen women head back to their low-barrier shelter because there’s nowhere else to go.

No date has been provided for release of a revised RFP.

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