Waypoint mental health workers need security guards on wards

“Asking nurses to do double-duty as security personnel runs contrary to the philosophy that there should be a therapeutic relationship between patient and caregiver." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Penetanguishene (18 July 2016) — The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is demanding that Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care immediately hire security personnel on all wards to prevent more violence against workers.

Nurses should not be responsible for providing security services

Waypoint’s provincial forensic division is home to many patients who have committed serious crimes but have been found not criminally responsible or found unfit to stand trial by the courts.

“Right now, registered nurses and registered practical nurses at Waypoint provide security,” said Pete Sheehan, OPSEU Local 329 President. “When there is an incident that involves a patient attack, it’s our nurses who intervene. We have been trained as caregivers, we’re not trained as security guards. If management hired security, our members wouldn’t have to go to work fearing for their lives.”

OPSEU/NUPGE campaign to raise awareness of the dangers faced by Waypoint nurses

For a second week, OPSEU/NUPGE is running radio ads on Rock 95 in Barrie and KICX 106 in Orillia to raise awareness about the dangers Waypoint workers face.  A new video will be available on the union’s website, and a full-page ad will also appear in the Midland Mirror this week.   

Providing dedicated security personnel would help prevent violence and reduce the severity of injuries to workers, but it would also benefit patients.

Therapeutic relationship between patient and caregiver damaged by lack of security at Waypoint

“Asking nurses to do double-duty as security personnel runs contrary to the philosophy that there should be a therapeutic relationship between patient and caregiver,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.  “If a nurse is supposed to provide care one minute, and then restrain a patient the next, that therapeutic relationship is threatened.”

“Management needs to provide better protection for these workers. Hiring security staff is a small price to pay when you realize it could save someone’s life.”

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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