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BC to hire 320 protection services officers for healthcare settings

The Province announced steps this morning to improve safety in healthcare settings for employees, patients and the general public.

A new security model has been introduced across all of British Columbia’s health authorities, which includes the hiring of 320 in-house protection services officers and 14 violence prevention leads.

Additional funding of $2 million will also be provided to SWITCH BC, a new organization focused on addressing workplace safety.

<who>Photo Credit: 123rf

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the move will help ensure all healthcare workers have safe workplaces and that people accessing care will be able to do so in a safe environment.

“Ensuring our healthcare facilities are free of violence will not only help us recruit and retain healthcare workers, but it will also improve patient care and continuity," Dix explained.

"Establishing SWITCH BC furthered our commitment to create safe and welcoming workplaces for our healthcare employees, and this latest action empowers security personnel to support these efforts."

All five health authorities in BC will get funding to establish a relational security model in 26 healthcare settings and hire staff to support it.

According to the Province, the new model ensures all security personnel have an acute awareness of patients and their surroundings, as well as how to anticipate, de-escalate and ultimately prevent aggression.

“It is based on 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,” explained a release from the provincial government.

All protection services personnel will receive training in workplace violence prevention, mental health and advanced customer service, along with trauma-informed practice training.

"After years of advocating for increased safety for nurses, BCNU welcomes this announcement and considers it a positive step toward addressing the increased violence we are seeing in the healthcare system,” said Aman Grewal, president of the BC Nurses’ Union.

“Between now and the fall of 2023, we fully expect to be involved in the implementation of these security measures and look forward to working together with the government to improve conditions for nurses, patients and all healthcare workers."

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