Misericordia reopening plan fails to protect staff and patient safety
EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Covenant Health’s plan to reopen the Misericordia hospital does not do enough to protect staff and patients, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
AHS and Covenant Health announced today (Aug. 14) that the hospital would begin a phased reopening after a COVID-19 outbreak caused a full facility lockdown on July 8.
“I think everyone is glad to see the situation has improved at the Misericordia,” says AUPE Vice-President and Licensed Practical Nurse Susan Slade. “However, the plan to return to normal after this outbreak is rushed and does not do enough to ensure staff and patient health and safety.”
The union is concerned that staff will not be tested for COVID-19 at the Misericordia as part of the reopening plan, but will instead have to book their own COVID-19 tests and have them performed off-site.
“You would think that testing on-site would be a hugely important part of helping a hospital recover from an outbreak like this,” says Slade. “But AHS and Covenant Health are crossing their fingers and hoping asymptomatic staff just aren’t sick.”
This concern is exacerbated by the ending of the single site order, which means many AUPE members who work part time at the Misericordia will be going back to working at multiple sites, increasing the chances of COVID-19 spreading back to the Misericordia and other worksites.
The Misericordia will also be allowing visitors again, further increasing the chances of COVID-19 returning to the workfloor.
“This is not only a safety issue, but also a failure to consult and organize,” says Slade. “We don’t know how the reopening is going to affect AUPE members. we still don’t know what’s going to happen for them and when their working lives will return to normal.
“AHS and Covenant Health are pushing us to accept this plan, but we don’t want to agree to anything until we know how this is going to affect all our members. We want our questions answered. Staff and patient safety is too important to rush.”
AUPE is western Canada’s largest union with over 95,000 members, half of whom work in health care.
Vice President Slade is available for interviews.
Please contact: Alexander Delorme, AUPE Communications, 780-264-9274