320 protective services officers will support safer workplaces for healthcare workers

Province Taking Steps to Create Safer Workplaces for Healthcare Workers and Patients by Introducing a New Safety Model Across All Health Authorities, Hiring More Protective Services Employees and Increasing Funding of SWITCH BC, a new organization focused on workplace safety.

Approximately 320 internal protective services officers and 14 violence prevention officers will be hired and will help create a safer environment for staff and patients.

“These measures will help ensure that all healthcare workers have safe and healthy workplaces and that the patients who rely on them access care in a safe environment. Ensuring our healthcare facilities are free from violence will not only help us recruit and retain healthcare workers, but it will also improve patient care and continuity,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. Health. “The creation of SWITCH BC has reinforced our commitment to creating safe and welcoming workplaces for our healthcare employees, and this latest action enables security personnel to support these efforts.”

The province is providing health authorities with funding to establish a relational safety model in 26 health care settings and hire staff to support it. The new model ensures that all security personnel have a keen awareness of patients and their surroundings, as well as how to anticipate, defuse and ultimately prevent attacks. It is based on trauma-informed practice, which integrates knowledge of how people are affected by trauma into procedures, practices and services to create a safer environment for staff and patients.

All Protective Services staff will receive training in workplace violence prevention, mental health and advanced customer service. They will also receive hands-on trauma-informed training to acquire the knowledge, skills, and language necessary to apply a trauma-informed perspective to interactions with patients, families, clients, and colleagues.

“As Minister of Labor my top priority is the safety of workers, including those who work tirelessly in our healthcare sector,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Integrating this new model of safety into our healthcare facilities will help protect healthcare workers from violence – whether physical, emotional or verbal – and allow them to complete their shifts safely. security.

The government is also providing $2 million to SWITCH BC (Safety, Wellbeing, Innovation, Training and Collaboration in Healthcare) to ensure workplace safety. This is in addition to the $8.5 million over three years announced in 2019 to establish the organization.

The agreement for a new agency was reached through collective bargaining in the public sector and included the participation of all health sector bargaining associations, the Doctors of BC, the Health Employers Association of British Columbia and the Ministry of Health.

SWITCH BC is leading the enhancement and strengthening of the provincial violence prevention program, which will incorporate the principles of trauma-informed practice that are embedded in the relational safety model. This will ensure that all healthcare workers and medical staff receive standard training on violence mitigation and de-escalation. SWITCH BC will engage with healthcare teams to hear their ideas on improving health and safety in their workplace.

Work to create safer healthcare workplaces through the Relational Safety Model is part of BC’s Health Human Resources Strategy announced on September 29, 2022. The strategy aims to prioritize people by ensuring they get the health services they need and are cared for. by a healthy workforce. The strategy focuses on 70 key actions to recruit, train and retain healthcare workers, while redesigning the healthcare system to drive job satisfaction and innovation.


Victoria Schmid, CEO, SWITCH BC –

“Everyone working in healthcare has the right to be safe and healthy, to thrive at work, and to return home safely to family and friends. That’s why we’re inviting everyone who works in healthcare to share their experiences as we update violence prevention training. This will help shape an inclusive, diverse, and trauma-informed program that better meets the needs of healthcare teams today and in the future.

Kane Tse, President, Health Services Association –

“Specialized healthcare professionals on the front lines of care delivery in British Columbia have faced heightened hostility since the pandemic, and incidents of workplace violence are pushing these already exhausted staff beyond breaking point. We cannot afford to lose any of them. We welcome today’s announcement which recognizes and responds to the importance of violence in the workplace, provides an important update on the violence prevention program and increases efforts to strengthen protections for health professionals. specialized healthcare that protects us all, every day. We look forward to working with the government to meet the challenge of addressing the deeper issues, which continue to fuel aggression and violence in the healthcare system.

Aman Grewal, President, BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU)

“After years of advocating for increased nurse safety, BCNU welcomes this announcement and sees it as a positive step towards addressing the increase in violence we are seeing in the healthcare system. By fall 2023, we fully expect to be involved in implementing these safety measures and look forward to working with the government to improve conditions for nurses, patients and all healthcare workers. .

Meena Brisard, Secretary-Business Manager, Hospital Employees Union –

“These investments in the health and safety of today’s workers will help our efforts to retain the qualified staff and recruit the healthcare workers we need for the future. Hiring hundreds of Internal Protective Services officers with specific training in trauma-informed practice will make our health care system safer for patients and workers.

Learn more:

To learn more about BC’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCHealthHumanResourcesStrategy-Sept2022.pdf

To learn more about SWITCH BC, visit: https://switchbc.ca/

To learn more about the government’s initial investment in SWITCH BC, visit https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019HLTH0160-002372

Two background documents follow.

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