The article presents conceptual approaches to the problem of quality assurance in mental health care, which accumulate a previous national and international experience in the field of medical and psychiatric care quality, taking into account the results obtained by the authors. The article addresses juridical, ethic, economic and organizational aspects of mental health care improvement. Attention is drawn to a need in controlling system and quality evaluation based on adequate and informative criteria and quality standards and in making scientifically founded administrative decisions. Specific criteria for evaluation of mental health care quality, taking into account its main components--structure, process, results--were suggested.
Highly centralized control of the British Columbia Mental Health Services has undermined the effectiveness and efficiency of mental health services, according to the author. While quality control policies based upon these assumptions may be fiscally elegant, they are costly and clinically counterproductive.