Another staff member at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH) in Coquitlam, operated by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), has been assaulted after being asked to escort a patient exhibiting aggressive behaviour to a seclusion room. Staff members are not provided with protective gear at FPH.
"The ongoing violence at FPH is due to an imbalance created by bringing dangerous individuals, remanded to the facility by the courts, into a hospital setting where staff are not equipped with protective gear," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "For too long, the therapeutic interests of patients have been pursued at the expense of staff safety and we have called on the PHSA to bring this into balance."
Last Thursday, President Smith delivered a presentation at the PHSA Open Board of Directors Meeting to ensure the board is well-informed of the dangerous conditions at the facility, and to call on the PHSA to take both long-term and immediate actions to improve onsite safety.
"While we are troubled to hear about another assault, we were encouraged by the response at Thursday's meeting as the board chair assured us we all share the same goal – to keep workers safe in their workplace," says Smith. "We await PHSA's response and hope they take the opportunity to work with the union to turn things around at this facility, and quickly."
FPH has been issued 54 Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) safety orders and 102 WCB inspection reports have been filed in the last five years, mostly resulting from the employer's failure to protect workers from violence. A $171,000 fine was issued by the WCB in the fall of 2016 for extremely dangerous conditions at the facility, yet the violence continues.
Over 270 BCGEU members work at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, including 130 health care workers, 15 forensic security officers, 25 dietary staff, 7 social workers and 27 administrative staff.
Click here to see the letter sent to the PHSA President and CEO following our presentation at the Open Board of Directors Meeting Thursday June 29th
For more information contact: Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications | e: firstname.lastname@example.org | c: 604-719-4713
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