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Linking care with security: the Leadership Table and Waypoint

Toronto – In the wake of yet more attacks on staff by patients at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is urging health care leaders to act on the recommendations contained in the report of the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table. OPSEU has published a paper that helps joint health and safety committees implement most of the Leadership Table’s recommendations.

The Ontario government created the Leadership Table in August 2015 to arrive at ways of preventing violence in the workplace. In addition to its 23 recommendations, the panel underscored the critical link between the quality of care given and the safety and security of caregivers. It found that the more caregivers felt safe in their workplace, the better care they were able to provide to their patients.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was part of the Leadership Table as a strong voice for what health care workers need to be protected from violence on the job. OPSEU also participated on three of four working groups.

“Two days ago, at Waypoint Centre, a violent patient assaulted three nurses, putting all of them in the hospital,” said Thomas. “Last week, another assault at Waypoint sent four workers to hospital. To say this pattern of violence is unacceptable would be a gross understatement. While danger is a part of many occupations, no worker should have to face this level and frequency of violence in their workplace.

“The health care sector represents less than 12 per cent of Ontario’s workforce, but four of the top 10 professions reporting workplace violence are in health care,” noted Thomas. “Meanwhile, CEOs of many hospitals and other health care facilities just look the other way while their staff are assaulted.

“OPSEU has 3,300 members working in long-term care, while some 8,000 members work in the mental health sector. We will continue to press the government and health care leaders to move forward resolutely and expeditiously with the Leadership Table’s recommendations to create safe, secure and healthy workplaces for our dedicated health care workers – at Waypoint and in every corner of the province.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931