B.C. Nurses Union members Judy Surkon (left)

Safety concerns exist for nurses

BCNU president Debra McPherson says she will discuss safety procedures with Health Minister Terry Lake during a meeting Sept. 4

Health care professionals insist there must be more done to ensure safety in care homes.

During a stop in Vernon Tuesday, B.C. Nurses Union president Debra McPherson indicated a concern about security for residents and staff at long-term care and mental health facilities.

“There’s an increasing number of aggressive clients and that’s posing a real challenge because staffing levels are often very low,” she said.

An 85-year-old man died at Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s Polson dementia unit Aug. 18. A 95-year-old man, who has been charged with murder, has been transferred to a psychiatric facility for an assessment.

McPherson says she will discuss safety procedures with Health Minister Terry Lake during a meeting Sept. 4.

She also believes there needs to be increased awareness among families about the environment their loved ones live in.

“People need to ask what kind of staff the facility has and what kind of security there is,” she said.

While here, McPherson discussed a number of issues with BCNU members, including staffing at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

“Vernon has been on average, 30 per cent over capacity for many years,” she said.

“They (nurses) are just tired and worn out and angry the government is not living up to its end of bargaining.”

McPherson says the BCNU agreed to a longer work week in the last contract in return for an additional 2,000 positions across the province.

“They have not done that,” she said of the government.

Besides VJH, McPherson visited members at community care and the health unit.


“I hear their concerns and see their workplaces. It gives me context for discussions,” she said.



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