Waypoint Staff Protesting For Their Safety
Waypoint nursing staff and attendants protested today over ongoing security concerns in the new building. Since being opened the building has been plagued with issues with access control, locks, surveillance systems and had patients escape their rooms and from the grounds. In addition many attacks on staff have taken place, many requiring medical attention and in some cases the staff have been off work ever since. The Ministry of Labour has been called in on several occasions and has issued reports, recommendations and orders – many of which have yet to be implemented and seem lost in bureaucratic spin-cycle of committees, research and discussions without any action to protect the staff.
The NewsWire reported on Oct 15th that Waypoint, located in Penetanguishene, Ontario, opened in May 2014. The $474-million facility was a joint project by Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
“Because of the inexperience of the private sector companies that built the facility, a great deal has gone wrong in the 17 months Waypoint has been open,” Thomas noted. “The government ignored staff warnings about it opening it prematurely, and their concerns remain ignored despite mounting patient attacks and security breaches.”
Patients have fashioned weapons from furniture, wall sockets and metal strapping behind the drywall used in the facility. There have also been chronic failures in the central computerized lock system for all areas in the facility. These failures have resulted in numerous lockdowns and have placed staff — and the community — at risk.
The issues at the new Waypoint facility have been well-documented in a scathing series of reports in the Toronto Sun (links below) and this latest incident involving multiple stabbing victims seems to have caused the issues to boil over resulting in this mass protest by OPSEU.
With many Midland residents working at Waypoint, we have been receiving confidential information about the realities of working at the facility. Do you have some thing to share? You can use our “submit news” link or post anonymously at the bottom of this article.
The common perception that if all that has happened there has not resulted in the needed changes – then someone will have to die to get them out of the spin cycle and implementing changes that put staff safety ahead of patient safety and comfort.
CTV covered the protest today: http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/our-lives-matter-workers-hold-rally-at-waypoint-centre-for-mental-health-care-1.2856224
MUST READ: Toronto Sun multi-part series on Waypoint
Update: April 13th 2016 http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/6495140-province-orders-waypoint-to-shape-up/