HSABC members ready for migrant ship emergency

Trained health professionals standing by to provide CT scanning, x-ray, ultrasound, laboratory technology and pharmacy services.

Victoria (12 Aug. 2010) - The Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) says its members are ready to provide professional health services required by approximately 490 refugees aboard a migrant vessel that arrived early Friday morning on Vancouver Island.

"Over the past few days, the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) has been working with health care unions to provide information and address concerns in preparation for receiving refugees requiring emergency medical care," HSABC says in an update.

"The old emergency department at Victoria General Hospital has been temporarily reopened to provide screening, triage, assessment and diagnostic care. VIHA has also reopened '7 North' to treat refugees requiring hospital admission."

HSABC members – such as those specializing in CT scanning, x-ray, ultrasound, laboratory technology and pharmacy – will be providing their expertise on a scheduled and an on-call basis.

"Stringent infection control measures will be in place as well as universal protective precautions (including fit-testing for N95 respirators)," the union adds.

Meanwhile, HSABC is advising its members that immunization may be required to process some of the refugees if certain medical conditions arise.

"If you have a defined medical condition, compromised immune system, or other defined predisposition to communicable disease that can be certified by a physician, you have a right to refuse immunization," the union notes.

The special medical unit is expected to be in operation for less than a week. VIHA has circulated a joint bulletin from the health authority and the health care unions.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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

More information:
Humanitarian Emergency Response to Potential Arrival of Migrant Ship
VIHA Response to Migrant Ship Humanitarian Emergency

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