KINGSTON, ON – Recent violent attacks on Kingston hospital staff have resulted in serious injury including concussion, cuts, bruises and a broken tooth. Front-line staff at the hospital are taking their demand for an end to violence against them to the lawn of the hospital with a noon-hour rally on Stuart Street at 12:00 noon on Friday, March 9.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) surveyed almost 2,000 members in 2017, the majority of them women, and found they face physical, verbal, and sexual assault on a regular basis. Provincially, 68 per cent of those direct care staff polled said they had experienced violence in the last 12 months; 42 per cent had also been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted.
But the numbers for our Kingston hospital are much higher than that provincial average for nurses, personal support workers, porters and dietary staff who are in the most contact with patients. 78 per cent of our members involved in direct care responded that they had experienced violence in the last year, 10 per cent higher than the provincial average.” That’s completely unacceptable to us and it should be unacceptable for the hospital administration. But the beatings of staff continue. Now that violence has been added by the province as an indicator of quality care, I am hoping that the hospital will take this issue much more seriously,” says Mike Rodrigues, the president of CUPE 1974 that represents 1,400 front-line staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).
Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), says the province also needs to invest in measures to make our workplaces safer: staffing up units where staff are at risk of assault, like the ER; improving flagging systems; improving reporting systems; providing personal alarms and making infrastructure changes.
“Also, it’s very important that there be no reprisals against hospital staff who report workplace violence. The provincial government should support the bill tabled by the NDP which calls for these protections,” says Hurley.
Both Rodrigues and Hurley will be attending tomorrow’s lunchtime rally.
For more information please contact:
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-559-9300 [email protected]