December 9, 2023

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B.C. government announces 320 protection services officers for health-care workplaces

In an effort to improve workplace safety for health-care workers and patients, the B.C. government announced Monday morning a new security model across all health authorities. This includes hiring about 320 in-house protection services officers and 14 violence prevention leads and expanding funding to SWITCH BC, a new organization focused on addressing workplace safety.

“These actions will help ensure all health-care employees have safe and healthy workplaces, and that the patients who count on them are accessing care in a safe environment, Minister of Health Adrian Dix said Monday. “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.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. implements program to help health-care workers feel safer on the job'

B.C. implements program to help health-care workers feel safer on the job

This model will provide health authorities with funding to establish a security model, Dix explained, and hire the staff to support it.

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This will include trauma-informed practice, which integrates knowledge of how people are affected by trauma into procedures, practices and services to create a safer environment for staff and patients, Dix added.

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Housing, health care and safety are priorities for B.C. premier-designate David Eby

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s premier-designate David Eby lays out plan for 1st 100 days in office'

B.C.’s premier-designate David Eby lays out plan for 1st 100 days in office

On Friday, premier-designate David Eby said health care was a top priority for him when he is sworn in to office in November.

“The cost of housing, the strain on health care, and the impacts of climate change on our communities. We must confront the big challenges people are facing,” Eby said.

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B.C. health minister criticized over rural health care

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In mid-September, Dix faced criticism when he laid out his grand vision for the future of health care in B.C. while providing few specifics on how to make changes during a much-anticipated speech at the annual UBCM conference.

In the speech, Dix acknowledged the province is currently in a health-care crisis and has been in one since March 2020. But in front of a packed Whistler Conference Centre room, he did not provide any new specifics on how the province will be managing the crisis.

It is hoped these new measures will help attract and retain health-care workers in B.C.

It is expected that all protection services personnel will receive training in workplace violence prevention, mental health and advanced customer service. They will also receive trauma-informed practice training to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and language to be able to apply a trauma-informed lens to interactions with patients, families, clients and colleagues, according to the province.

“As minister of labour, my top priority is the safety of workers, including those who are working tirelessly in our health-care sector,” said Harry Bains, minister of labour, in a statement. “Integrating this new security model into our health-care facilities will help protect health-care workers from violence – be it physical, emotional or verbal – and allow them to complete their shifts safely.”

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