The BC Nurses Union applauds a bill that was introduced in the House of Commons from Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty.
The bill calls on the government to amend the criminal code when it comes to assaults against health care professionals and first responders.
BCNU President Christine Sorensen told MyPGNow.com nurses in Northern BC continue to put up with violence while on the job.
“I hear regular reports from nurses who are working in the north about risky things that happen and where they have been assaulted and weapons are brought into facilities where nurses are assaulted or their families of patients are very frustrated or angry.”
“Nurses have also been sexually assaulted and that often occurs when somebody is grasping parts of their body that are not appropriate to be held by someone else in a public venue.”
She adds in other cases, nurses have been stalked and assaulted outside of work.
Sorensen adds while they are happy with the effort being made in Ottawa, the same cannot be said on a provincial level.
“This bill was introduced last spring and unfortunately it did fall during the election so I am pleased to see that it has been re-introduced. I am also glad to see the greater interest from all parties, which are recognizing that violence against health care workers, particularly nurses is not a partisan issue.”
While the Nurses Union is pleased with the effort being made in Ottawa, the same cannot be said on a provincial level.
“Last fall, we delivered 25,000 signed postcards to Minister of Health Adrian Dix on behalf of citizens of British Columbia who are calling on the government to ensure when nurses go to work they are protected from violence in the workplace.”
“Nurses have been stalked and attacked outside of work and so these are risks that nurses face across the province, sometimes these are a bit more of a concern in rural and remote areas where nurses are working in isolation but at the very minimum, we have identified 22 sites across the province and have asked the minister to make those a priority for putting in protection service officers in those facilities,” added Sorensen.
According to WorkSafe BC, 26 nurses each month suffer a violent injury at work, accounting for 31 percent of all injuries from acts of violence in the province.
with files from Brendan Pawliw, MyPGNow