Tuesday, February 27, 2024

BC health-care workers to get protection from violence with new security support


The province is going to be bringing on 320 protection services officers in order to make workplaces safer for health-care workers in BC.

Violence is a real problem for health-care workers. According to the Ministry of Health, violence was the second most common cause of time loss claims between 2015 and 2019 for nurses and health-care assistants. Both of those being predominantly female led roles. 

In addition to hiring these security officers, the province will be providing more funding to a new company dedicated to making workplaces safer called SWITCH BC.

SWITCH BC stands for Safety, Wellbeing, Innovation, Training and Collaboration in Healthcare. It is a new organization that focuses on the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone working in the health-care sector specifically.

“Ensuring our health-care facilities are free of violence will not only help us recruit and retain health-care workers, but it will also improve patient care and continuity,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. 

“Establishing SWITCH BC furthered our commitment to create safe and welcoming workplaces for our health-care employees, and this latest action empowers security personnel to support these efforts.”

The security officers to be hired will be provided with trauma-informed training. Their goal and purpose will be to prevent aggressive behaviour by being acutely aware of their surroundings and de-escalating aggression toward staff and patients alike.

Trauma-informed training is important because of ties between trauma and substance use, mental illness, stigma, health-care access barriers and other challenges. 

The Ministry of Health said it is important to recognize these links in making people feel safe and not re-traumatizing them or triggering them by their care.

The southern Vancouver Island health-care facilities set to benefit from these new positions are:

  • Royal Jubilee Hospital
  • Victoria General Hospital
  • Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility
  • Nanaimo Regional Hospital
  • Saanich Peninsula Hospital
  • West Coast General Hospital
  • Cowichan District Hospital
  • Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health
Curtis Blandy

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