July 24, 2024

“Decriminalization doesn’t imply unfettered consumption. It doesn’t imply that folks ought to be trafficking within the hospital setting.” — B.C. Nurses’ Union president Adriane Gear

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Whereas the premier reiterated Monday that sufferers will not be allowed to smoke illicit medication or convey weapons inside B.C. hospitals, a nurse at Victoria Common Hospital stated sufferers are given lockboxes to retailer their medication, drug paraphernalia and small weapons.

The sufferers have the passcode to their lockbox and might entry it each time they need, which has led to illicit drug use of their rooms, stated the nurse, who spoke anonymously for concern of reprisals.

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Island Well being confirmed the well being authority gives lockboxes “for sufferers to securely retailer their belongings. Sufferers are inspired to position unregulated substances and hurt discount provides in lockboxes to make sure they don’t seem to be left within the open, so they don’t pose a threat to workers or different sufferers.”

Lockboxes are additionally offered at St. Paul’s Hospital, in response to a division head at Windfall Well being.

A nurse who was on a short lived contract at Burnaby Hospital stated sufferers with substance-use points — lots of whom are dropped at hospital following a extreme overdose — are capable of depart their beds for as much as six hours at a time. Which means beds within the often-overcrowded hospital are left empty whereas different sufferers are handled within the hallway or made to attend hours within the ready room.

“They know that they’re allowed to go away for six hours at a time with out shedding their mattress,” she stated. “There’s such a nurse and a physician scarcity, and mattress scarcity for sufferers.”

Fraser Well being stated in an announcement: “If a affected person chooses to go away the hospital to make use of substances throughout their keep, our precedence is their security and well-being.”

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Postmedia Information requested Fraser Well being how lengthy persons are capable of depart their hospital beds however didn’t get a response by deadline.

The nurse stated she felt pissed off seeing a “little outdated girl or man” ready within the emergency room for 3 or 4 days for a mattress however not capable of get one as a result of somebody who has “gone utilizing medication on the road for hours may simply roll again in.”

Nurses have been risking punishment by talking to Postmedia Information in regards to the unsafe circumstances they face in B.C. hospitals, together with publicity to poisonous drug smoke, erratic and violent behaviour by sufferers and open drug trafficking by hospital guests.

It follows the discharge final week by B.C. United of a Northern Well being memo that final yr suggested that due to the province’s decriminalization coverage, health-care workers are to not confiscate sufferers’ medication or weapons.

The B.C. Nurses’ Union says its members are more and more involved about illicit drug use and open drug dealing in hospitals that places nurses in danger.

B.C. United MLA Elenore Sturko says the B.C. NDP’s decriminalization coverage, which permits individuals to own 2.5 grams or much less of arduous medication, has given carte blanche for “predatory drug traffickers” to prey on individuals utilizing medication in hospitals.

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Talking at an unrelated press convention Monday, Premier David Eby stated “to be completely clear, smoking within the hospital isn’t allowed. And that features tobacco in addition to another medication. Weapons will not be allowed in hospitals.”

Whereas well being authorities have a coverage that smoking isn’t allowed inside hospitals, Well being Minister Adrian Dix introduced Monday that the province would arrange a process power to verify the insurance policies are constant throughout B.C. Dix stated the province has employed 320 safety officers to attempt to crack down on drug use and criminal activity inside hospitals.

B.C. Nurses’ Union president Adriane Gear stated the duty power is a “first step” however she’s unsure it should assist implement guidelines which are being damaged.

“We have now a lot of insurance policies that aren’t enforced, together with that violence gained’t be tolerated in health-care settings,” Gear instructed Postmedia Information Monday. “That coverage is a provincial one and it’s not notably enforced.”

Whereas the union helps hurt discount as a technique to forestall overdoses, Gear stated the decriminalization coverage has “been interpreted as all the pieces goes.”

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“Decriminalization doesn’t imply unfettered consumption,” she stated. “It doesn’t imply that folks ought to be trafficking within the hospital setting.”

Sturko, the Opposition critic for psychological well being and addictions, stated “placing a process power in place to strengthen guidelines that aren’t being enforced will do nothing.”

“Due to the province’s failure to deal with this illicit drug use and drug trafficking in hospitals, they’re placing nurses, sufferers, docs and different health-care employees in danger,” Sturko stated.

Sturko offered to Postmedia Information an e-mail from a St. Paul’s Hospital nurse who stated hospital workers present “burner kits” — glass pipes and matches — so individuals can smoke medication. “And we marvel why they smoke on web site,” the nurse wrote.

The nurse additionally stated the fourth ground courtyard — the place smoking is allowed — has grow to be floor zero for drug dealing and overdoses.

Dr. Seonaid Nolan, division head of Windfall Well being’s habit drugs division, stated she’s involved to see hurt discount flip right into a political soccer due to the controversy over decriminalization.

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“The difficulty of energetic substance use isn’t a brand new one, both at St. Paul’s hospital or another acute care facility in B.C. or throughout Canada,” she stated throughout a Zoom interview with reporters. “We’ve recognized that there was substance use on hospital grounds for a really very long time and St. Paul’s is not any exception.”

Nolan stated when individuals arrive on the hospital with illicit substances, their substances will not be taken away due to decriminalization. They’re given a lockbox to securely retailer them, she stated.

Sufferers are directed to an space the place it’s acceptable to eat medication, which at St. Paul’s Hospital is the fourth-floor courtyard.

Windfall Well being is conscious of a few of the issues on the fourth ground, which is why Nolan stated there’s been an “improve when it comes to safety measures.”

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