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Special security workers to reduce violence, increase empathy at health care facilities

The province has made good on a promise last year to hire more specialized security for BC hospitals.

Today Adrian Dix says 320 new “relational security” workers have been hired for all 26 hospitals and health care sites identified last year as priorities, including a mental health facility in Cowichan.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing toxic-drug crisis have exacerbated challenges in the health-care system, and compromised the safety of the workplace for some health-care employees and quality care of patients,” he said. “That’s why a year ago, we made a commitment to hire 320 new relational security officers by fall 2023 to rectify the situation.”

Hospitals in Campbell River, the Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Cowichan, and three other Island facilities already have the relational security model in place, with 100 trained staff.

The new security workers have received training in workplace violence prevention and mental health, as well as trauma-informed training to guide their interactions with patients, families, clients and colleagues.

Kane Tse, president of the Health Sciences Association, says BC’s health care system is facing severe shortages of specialized health professionals, who are already struggling with excessive workloads. Violence against them makes shortages worse, and he says the association welcomes the government’s approach to reduce violence in the health care system.

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